It is the second new destination for county airport users in the past 60 days, after Alaska Airlines began daily service of nonstop flights between San Luis Obispo and Seattle in April.
“The community has anticipated this for a long, long time,” said Kevin Bumen, San Luis Obispo County’s director of airports.
The first arriving flight departed from Denver about 7:10 p.m. and arrived in San Luis Obispo at 8:50 p.m. The first departure flight is scheduled to leave San Luis Obispo at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and arrive in Denver at 8:56 a.m. All times are local.
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The 2.5-hour flight between San Luis Obispo and Denver — SLO County’s airport’s longest flight — will be operated by SkyWest Airlines.
Adam Hill, the District 3 representative for the county Board of Supervisors, said it wasn’t long ago when the airport’s future was uncertain.
“Despite what we have to offer as a community ... there were people who just didn’t know if we were going to survive as a regional airport,” Hill said. “We have come back so strong, and there are so many people who deserve recognition.”
The connection with Denver will open up more than 1,000 new routes to 150 destinations, which Chuck Davison, president and CEO of Visit SLO CAL, said is “a game-changer for our market.”
“We do know that, just from our research, those who do travel by air have a tendency to stay longer and spend more money,” Davison said. “That’s a huge initiative as we continue to move our business forward.”
San Luis Obispo is one of 31 destinations across the United States and Europe to which United Airlines is adding service. United Airlines also flies nonstop to San Francisco and Los Angeles from San Luis Obispo.
“The addition of our Denver service is simply an extension of a partnership we’ve had with the community for so long,” said Michael Burney, sales manager for United Airlines.