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Alaska Air bringing Bay Area to Kauai

By Dave Segal

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Alaska Airlines, which has expanded its foothold in the Hawaii market since debuting here in October 2007, is beefing up further with the introduction of service to Kauai from two cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Seattle-based carrier, which will offer more than 100 flights this winter between the mainland and Hawaii, will begin service between San Jose and Lihue on March 27 and between Oakland and Lihue on March 28. San Jose-Lihue flights will be Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and Oakland-Lihue service will be Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays. The two flights will have the capacity to bring in up to 1,099 passengers a week to Kauai on Alaska's 157-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Fares will start at $179 one way for tickets purchased by July 9 and used for travel through May 17.

The new routes will complement existing service to the Garden Island from Seattle that began on Oct. 28, 2007. Alaska also flies to Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

In less than three years, Alaska's reach into Hawaii has expanded to the point where it now represents 15 percent of the carrier's scheduled service.

"For us it's one of the two most popular destinations that we serve as a West Coast-dominant carrier, and with one of the top-ranked mileage plan programs in the country, our customers have been asking for service to the Hawaiian Islands for years," Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said yesterday. "So our decision to fly to the Hawaiian Islands was largely based on customer demands."

The other top locale that Alaska serves is Mexico, with flights to nine different destinations.

State tourism liaison Marsha Wienert said Alaska has shown confidence in Hawaii during the economic slowdown.

"Even in the worst economic times, they have been very successful in bringing visitors to the islands and successful enough to expand that service," Wienert said.






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