RENO -- With many airlines on the brink of bankruptcy and tourism down all across the country, Reno / Tahoe International Airport is bucking the trend.
Seven airlines have announced that they will either begin new service at the airport, or expand their existing service.
Airport officials say the main reason for the increase in service is demand. Reno / Tahoe International Airport currently boasts one of the best load rates in the country, meaning flights leaving this airport are usually full or nearly full.
At the Travel at Caughlin Ranch agency, business is brisk. The agency says the airlines have not kept up with local demand, but some new flights out of the Reno / Tahoe International Airport will help.
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"It helps replace the flights we lost after 9 / 11," says Barbara Gardner, a travel agent at Travel at Caughlin Ranch. "It's really positive because new flights are coming in and are providing better service for connections to the east coast, to Europe and to Hawaii."
The new flights look like this: in April, Southwest Airlines added Saturday-only service to Burbank, California and San Diego. Just last week, United Airlines added two more daily non-stop flights to San Francisco, bringing the total now to six non-stops a day.
On June 8, Alaska will add two flights a day to Los Angeles International Airport, and those flights will connect with non-stops to Mexico. On June 15, Frontier Airlines will add an additional daily non-stop to Denver, bringing that route's total to two.
On July 2, Aloha Airlines will add a daily flight to Honolulu -- that flight will stop in Orange County, California. Finally, later in July, Continental will add an additional non-stop flight to Houston.
The airport attributes the growth to three things -- keeping gate fees low, actively recruiting and offering incentives to airlines, and demand, demand, demand.
"We're seeing record load factors," says airport spokesman Adam Mayberry. "We're seeing load factors in the high 80s to 90s, and when you have planes flying in and out of this airport with those load factors, clearly, the demand is not being met."
The airport says more airlines are on the way. Officials are currently in talks with Jet Blue, a low-cost carrier on the east coast, and other airlines will be making announcements shortly.
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