Reef Runway, Honolulu International Airport

Why Bellingham Is So Important To Hawaii

Allegiant Air’s announcement of the mainland cities from which it will serve Hawaii could come at any time now. When that occurs, Bellingham (Washington) will almost certainly be among them.

I believe that will be true even though it may break with Allegiant’s tradition and policy of operating non-competing routes.  Alaska jumped on the Bellingham to Hawaii bandwagon earlier this month when it announced service to Honolulu.

Bellingham is a small regional airport in Northwestern Washington state. Many of you from outside the area are just becoming familiar with this secret gem.

There are many draws to Bellingham but two stand out in terms of importance to Hawaii:

1.  Canada: Bellingham is 22 miles from the border

Western Canada is a growing and important player in the Hawaii tourism market.  The cold winters and relatively close distance and short flying time to Hawaii, makes it an easy choice.  The problem has been that airfares from Canada to Hawaii (mostly via WestJet and Air Canada) are too high. As a result, western Canada remains a relatively untapped market with huge potential for the victor.

Here are examples of current non-stop airfares from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.:

  • Seattle to Honolulu or Maui $359
  • Vancouver to Honolulu $421
  • Vancouver to Maui $497

According to Allegiant, a majority of their current Bellingham customers are already Canadians who drive across the border to save money on airfares.

2.  Sea-Tac Airport

Seattle’s Airport is relatively expensive and congested, although their new light rail is helping the situation. For those living north of Seattle, driving the extra distance to Bellingham for cheaper flights and parking is a good option.  The demand for Hawaii flights from the Seattle area thusfar seems to be unending. Service from Bellingham will draw from Seattle and neighboring western Washington, in addition to Western Canada.

Bellingham Airport

The regional airport is growing exponentially.  It is still small and cheap however, with $9/day parking vs. $28 at both Seattle and Vancouver. Until now serving only regional flights as far as Las Vegas, Bellingham was recently ranked as the cheapest US Airport based on average airfare (with Honolulu being the second most expensive).  Even with distant Hawaii services added, it is likely to remain one of the cheapest airports in the U.S., thanks to Allegiant’s creative price and rock bottom base airfares.

Bellingham will soon complete rebuilding of its runway and taxiway to accommodate larger planes, such as the 757’s which Allegiant acquired in order to serve Hawaii.

The next word

Allegiant has said they will announce their first Hawaii airport selections by the end of September. That will be for services using the first two planes which they received earlier this year. They had hoped to have Hawaii service under way before year end. Rumors I’ve recently heard however indicate some delays in their first ETOPS certification process, which could push out their Hawaii start date.


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3 thoughts on “Why Bellingham Is So Important To Hawaii”

  1. We live in Canada, very close to the border. Serving Hawaii is exciting for us, as Seattle is a bit too far.

    Air Canada and Westjet will not be able to compete with Alaska and Allegiant. The reason is that the taxes to fly from YVR are ridiculous. Over $100 in taxes!

  2. We live just across the border in Canada and are totally stoked that we will be able to fly from Bellingham via Allegiant to our most favorite place…Hawaii!!! Canadian Airlines are going to be hit hard with the new and cheaper flights from Bellingham!

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