Alaska expanding service to Hawaii

SeaTac's Alaska Airlines on Monday announced daily service between Bellingham and Honolulu beginning Jan. 7.

The new service announcement is clearly a pre-emptive marketing strike against leisure carrier Allegiant Air.

Allegiant has been rumored to be planning Hawaii service from Bellingham beginning either late this year or early 2011.

Allegiant is acquiring six Boeing 757 twin jets to expand its range. The airline now flies McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, aircraft that don’t have the range to fly the 2,500 miles to Hawaii from the mainland.

Allegiant has been successful in linking smaller cities such as Bellingham with resort destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and Phoenix with less-than-daily flights.

The airline has low fares as it typically “unbundles” its services, charging customers extras for service included in the ticket price on some other carriers.

Bellingham’s airport attracts passengers not only from northwest Washington but also from Vancouver, B.C.