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Indianapolis airport scores another nonstop flight to San Francisco

March 9, 2017

Indianapolis International Airport passengers will have a new option for nonstop flights to San Francisco beginning this fall.

The airport announced Thursday that its newest carrier, Alaska Airlines, will offer nonstop daily flights between Indianapolis and San Francisco starting Sept. 26 using Virgin America Airbus planes.

Alaska Airlines’ parent company, Alaska Air Group Inc., acquired California-based Virgin America in December.

This will be the second Indianapolis route for Alaska Airlines, which will start serving the market in May with direct flights to Seattle. That service was announced last year.

“Adding this flight—at this time—sends a clear message about the value Alaska Airlines sees in Indianapolis,” Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez said in a written statement.

The new service will give United Airlines some competition for its nonstop Indianapolis/San Francisco flights. United launched that route in 2014.

As an incentive to establish that service, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered United up to a $1.5 million annual backstop to cover any gap between the airline’s revenue and a contracted minimum.

The United San Francisco flight is “now fully supported by strong market demand and is no longer supported by the state,” IEDC spokeswoman Holly Gillham told IBJ in an e-mail.

Alaska Airlines did not request any IEDC incentives for its new San Francisco flight, Gillham said. 

The Indianapolis announcement was part of a larger service announcement that Alaska Airlines made Thursday. Between August and October, the company will launch 13 new nonstop routes from either San Francisco or San Jose, California, under the Alaska Airlines and Virgin America brands.

Virgin’s network operated as a point-to-point system built around the San Francisco and Los Angeles metro areas.

In addition to the Indianapolis route, the other new Virgin America routes announced Thursday include service between San Francisco and Philadelphia; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; Baltimore; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; and Kona, Hawaii.

The new Alaska Airlines routes will run between San Francisco and Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; and Mexico City. New Alaska Airlines routes will also run between San Jose and Austin, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Los Angeles.

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