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Southwest to bridge Reno-Oakland distance

Sally Roberts
sroberts@nnbw.biz
Celebrating Southwest Airlines's 25 anniversary of serving the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and the announcement of direct flights to Oakland with balloons and cake are Dave Harvey, right, senior director of strategic planning for Southwest Airlines, John Parker, center, Southwest senior business consultant, network planning & performance, and Jeff Horstman, left, who has been with Southwest in Reno since the airlines began flights in the city 25 years ago.
Sally Roberts/NNBW |

Reno and Oakland officials celebrated the return of direct flights between the cities with an announcement Tuesday, Dec. 15, first at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the morning, followed by a quick hop to Oakland International Airport for a noon presentation.

Beginning June 5, Southwest will service three flights daily from Reno to Oakland International Airport. Marily Mora, president and CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, made that announcement in the main lobby of the airport.

“Southwest truly is an airline that deserves to be celebrated,” she said.

Flights booked through Monday, Dec. 21, will have an introductory price of only $49 each way.

The announcement accompanied a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Southwest’s service to the Reno airport.

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During the 25 years of Southwest service in Reno, the airline had been “building bridges” between Northern Nevada and other parts of the west, said Dave Harvey, senior director of strategic planning for Southwest.

“Our futures are bright between Southwest and Reno,” he said, adding, “There’s more to come.”

Reno/Sparks/Tahoe business and government representatives have been working to expand the number of direct flights from Reno. One of the top goals was the return of the Reno-Oakland connection, which Southwest discontinued in June 2013.

The flights will link Reno to the entire Bay Area. The two areas are becoming increasingly interconnected as Bay Area businesses relocate or open additional offices in Reno.

Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Corporation and chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said the community was ready to support the connection.

“On behalf of the ski industry, we’re doing all we can to fill flights,” he said, adding that Southwest continually showed its commitment to the community with numerous donations to nonprofits as well as being a business partner.

Mora cited a study through UNR that showed Southwest flights directly and indirectly add $1 billion to the economy of the region each year.

Also on hand with an invitation to Reno-area residents to visit the Bay Area were Natalie Alvanez, vice president of marketing and business development with Visit Oakland, and Dan Marengo, marketing director for Visit Berkeley.


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