By Kristen Williams
Beginning Oct. 6, travelers will have a new destination when flying out of St. George, Utah.
SkyWest Airlines recently announced this new 90-minute United Express flight to Los Angeles, which will be its fourth major hub destination, one in each cardinal direction.
SkyWest already operates flights out of St. George Regional Airport to Denver, Salt Lake and Phoenix through its partnerships with United, Delta and American Airlines, respectively. For some Mesquite travelers, flying out of St. George is a refreshing alternative to Las Vegas’ McCarran International so the additional route is good news.
The new flight is available for immediate booking at www.united.com or by calling 800-864-8331. Members of United’s MileagePlus loyalty program may accrue miles on this flight.
The once daily flight will depart St. George at 6:40 a.m., arriving at LAX at 7:10 a.m., giving passengers 150 daily connection opportunities to 77 nonstop destinations around the world in addition to the connections that can be made at the other three hubs.
The return flight departs LAX at 7:30 p.m. and arrives back in St. George at 9:50 p.m. The route will be operated as a United Express Service on a 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ200). SkyWest has been named the CRJ200 manufacturer’s most reliable operator in North America five times.
The City of St. George and Washington County are subsidizing SkyWest’s startup costs for the SGU-LAX flight for its first year. The agreement provides up to $450,000 in a loss coverage/profit guarantee to the airline.
According to St. George Mayor Jon Pike, the funds are generated by taxes charged for tourism and recreation and are set aside for economic development. The elected officials made the agreement earlier this summer to mitigate financial risk and encourage SkyWest to move forward with the new flight.
A similar agreement was in place to bring in the Phoenix route with American Airlines service. Marc Mortensen, city spokesman and assistant to the city manager (St. George), works closely with the SkyWest marketing team on these projects.
He spoke about the success of the SGU-PHX flight agreement deal, which was also done for economic development purposes, saying it’s working out “phenomenally well.”
Marissa Snow of SkyWest confirmed that the airline added another Phoenix flight in March. Mortensen said SkyWest didn’t even come close to needing the entire subsidy for the Phoenix flight, so the leftover funds will now be used towards this new agreement.
Operations for the new Los Angeles flight were originally going to begin on Sept. 6, and Mortensen said the month delay was due to some fairly standard, minor issues with United and LAX and will have no effect on the agreement.
He says the city is excited and optimistic the new flight will be a success.