ST. GEORGE – Air travelers will have another choice of destinations when leaving the St. George Regional Airport thanks to SkyWest Airlines, along with some help from Washington County and the city of St. George.
The Washington County Commission approved an agreement Tuesday that will help subsidize the launch of a new round-trip SkyWest Airlines flight from St. George to Los Angeles, California.
County commissioners approved $225,000 for startup costs for the nonstop flight, which will be marketed as United Express.
The addition of Los Angeles to the three existing routes to Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix will point travelers in every direction from St. George, SkyWest Managing Director of Market Development Greg Atkin said.
“It also gives you connecting access to, really, anything in the world and the country,” he said.
The county’s part of the subsidy will come from available tourism and recreation taxes and money left over from a similar $100,000 subsidy arrangement for the startup of a Phoenix flight in November 2016.
St. George City will provide the other $225,000 for the new service – as it did for the St. George-to-Phoenix flight – and waive up to $50,000 in landing and other fees for the new route.
The funding is a revenue guarantee for the first year of the Los Angeles flights. SkyWest agreed to fly at least one nonstop roundtrip flight every day between Los Angeles and St. George in a jet airplane that holds at least 50 people.
The new flights are expected to begin in September. While the exact schedule has not been set, Atkin said, the flight will likely leave St. George in the morning and return in the evening. The flights will be branded and marketed as United Express.
The agreement will also fund losses SkyWest might incur by maintaining two flights a day to Denver during January and February, a time during which the airline has historically only had one daily flight.
The agreement between the city, county and airline runs for 18 months or until all subsidy funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
St. George-based SkyWest Airlines Inc. was founded in 1972 and has become the world’s largest regional airline.
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