EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Airport added its sixth airline under its wings Wednesday afternoon with American Airlines’ inaugural flight.
City leaders and airport officials say it will bring passengers from farther places and add more diversity to the city of Eugene.
“We’re really excited. It’s a great thing. American was here 20 years ago and they pulled out. We’re happy to have them back. We’re happy to have two record years in a row going on a third year,” said Tim Doll, Eugene Airport Director.
American Airlines will be solely offering flights to Los Angeles. Its spokesman says it was a no-brainer to add service to and from Eugene.
“We don’t really just throw darts at a map. We did our research. We saw that there was a lot of demand for traffic down to LA, as well as points beyond,” said Will Livsey, American Airlines Spokesman.
The airport says most of the flights to LAX are already booked. Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce President David Hauser says is a good sign.
“Existing business relationships get enhanced. New business relationships get created. Companies in LA and individuals in LA have access to our economy and may look to make investments here,” Hauser said.
“As we’re selling to sporting events and conferences and conventions, airlift is really a big deal as planners are looking at getting their delegates and participants into this market,” said Kari Westlund, Travel Lane County President.
Travel Lane County says this could mean more and even bigger events coming to the Eugene area. And with the addition of American Airlines Wednesday and Frontier a few weeks ago, city leaders say it may entice other airlines too.
“Energy attracts energy. And so we’ve found in the past when we announce new service it creates interest in additional service,” Hauser said.
“We are always looking for potential service whether it be a new airline or an existing airline to a new market,” Doll said.
Doll mentioned they just got back from a conference in Atlanta, which is basically like speed dating with airlines. They go around to different airlines and have 20 minutes to talk about potential service to the Eugene Airport. He says they may make another announcement in the coming months.