REDMOND, Ore. - Marking the successful conclusion of years of effort, a fast pledge- and fund-raising effort in recent weeks, American Airlines announced Thursday it will offer nonstop service between Redmond and Los Angeles International Airport, starting June 12.
At a news conference Thursday morning at RDM, officials said the new service will operate daily using a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft. It marks a restoration of RDM-LAX non-stop flights after Horizon ended its service a few years ago.
Thursday's announcement was made in conjunction with the Central Oregon Air Service Team (COAST), which includes representation from the city of Redmond, Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Redmond Economic Development Inc., Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), and Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA), who have been in negotiations with the airline for several months.
Leaders from both the public and private sectors were on hand for the event. Dale Morris, managing director of government affairs for American Airlines, was on hand for the celebratory announcement.
"We're delighted to provide service from Redmond and Eugene to our hub in Los Angeles," said Charles Schubert, American's vice president for network planning. "This schedule will give customers seamless access to Los Angeles and allow them to connect through this key international gateway to destinations throughout the American Airlines and oneworld® global network."
Daily flights from Redmond to LA will depart at 8:10 a.m. and arrive at LAX at 10:25 a.m. Return flights will leave LAX at 6:50 p.m. and arrive in Redmond at 8:55 p.m.
By way of background, RDM submitted a Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grant in June 2012 and enlisted local support from EDCO, COVA and the Redmond Chamber to develop a public-private partnership.
The application was so compelling, the airport was notified in September 2012 of the approval of a $500,000 grant to secure direct air service to Southern California. The COAST team worked diligently to meet with potential air carriers, and these efforts resulted in keen interest from American Airlines.
"This service would not be possible without the support of the local community," stated Redmond Airport Director Kim Dickie. "We received over 150 letters of local support when we applied for the SCASDP grant. The City of Redmond and the Airport are very excited to see a new carrier providing service to the community and re-instating service to LAX."
"The new American Airlines nonstop flight between RDM and LAX helps strengthen Central Oregon's economy by dramatically shortening the time required to connect residents for business purposes," said Roger Lee, executive director of EDCO. "We're very pleased with the enthusiastic response we've received — across the board — from the region in supporting the Airline Travel Bank and revenue guarantee."
"The nonstop jet service from LAX to RDM is vital to COVA's development of inbound tourism markets to Central Oregon," stated Alana Hughson, CEO of the Central Oregon Visitors Association. "COVA will spend significant resources marketing in Southern California, and it is a win-win for Central Oregon to have this new route sustained by both outbound and inbound travel."
Lee noted that over 123 participants contributed to the Airline Travel Bank, generating a total commitment of $392,500 in pre-paid travel. Most participants will receive their account numbers by mail this Friday and Saturday, so they are able to book travel when it appears on the American schedule over the weekend.
Lee, Hughson and Dickie remarked that widespread support of the new service was evidenced by the revenue guarantee provided to American Airlines, to which every city and county in the region contributed.
More about the plane that will fly the route can be found here: http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/ourPlanes/crj-200.jsp