Delta Air Lines will begin offering nonstop service between Spokane and Los Angeles starting on June 10.
Sen. Maria Cantwell joined local leaders and representatives from Delta Air Lines to announce the nonstop service Tuesday morning. Opening a direct flight from Spokane to Los Angeles has long been a goal of local community and business leaders.
The Spokane Airport board and Delta said the service is made possible through an air service development grant that provides up to $900,000 in federal funds combined with $200,000 in locally raised funds. They hope there is enough interest in the direct flight to Los Angeles to allow the service to be self sustaining.
Sen. Cantwell, who lobbied Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Aug. 2011 for Spokane to receive a Small Community Air Service Development Grant, believes the new flights will give the area's tourism industry a major boost.
"Whether its skiing in the winter time or outdoor activities or going to any of the lakes in the region, and we know people travel here, so that boost … that shot in the arm will really be helped by the fact that people can come directly from L.A. to Spokane," Cantwell said.
While tourism is a potential draw to the Inland Northwest, Jeff Davidman of Delta Air Lines sees this as an opportunity for business travelers looking to travel to L.A. without having to make connecting flights to other cities.
"We'd like everybody to want to use the flight but it's really based for the business traveler that we know has a desire to get to L.A. and back, maybe even in one day," he said.
Spokane Airport CEO Lawrence Krauter said that every year over 200,000 people -- more than 300 passengers a day -- travel between Spokane and Los Angeles.
The daily flights will depart from Spokane International Airport at 6:45 a.m. aboard a Bombardier CRJ900 jet with 76 seats. They will arrive at LAX at 9:20 a.m.
Return service will leave LAX at 7:50 p.m., arriving in Spokane at 10:25 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.