Horizon Airlines announced plans Monday for the expansion of commercial air service to Mammoth/Yosemite Airport resort starting Dec. 17, 2009 and running through April 11, 2010.
For the upcoming ski season, Horizon will provide new daily nonstop service from San Jose, Los Angeles and Reno. In addition, the airline added a direct, same plane, one-stop service from Seattle and Portland.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud hopes the expansion will bring more winter recreation tourists from Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
She added that her department has been working on a preliminary advertising strategy since February in anticipation of accessing new markets.
A multi-tiered marketing effort is planned for the Bay Area that will involve attending consumer shows, purchasing media insertions, placing promotions on the radio, posting online advertisements and identifying prospective marketing partners.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and Mammoth Brewing Co. are two current advertising partners. Stroud said the promotion plan will be a coordinated effort with advertising partners in order to take advantage of available resources without duplicating the Town’s efforts in order to get the right penetration in the right marketing areas.
Stroud said the Town is excited about the timing of the expanded air service to the Pacific Northwest considering the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler ski area in British Columbia. During the closure of the area for the Olympics, Mammoth will be advertising an alternative ski area for Northwestern winter sports enthusiasts to access.
Stroud said the load capacity for planes last year was 74 percent.
The expectation is that the new service will inspire thousands of tourists to visit, many of whom would not have considered the trip previously given the long drive from other airports.
Currently, the Town plans to subsidize the service through Measure A funds, but Town Manager Rob Clark said Wednesday, the Town will seek FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grants to help “subsidize the subsidy.”
Fares are expected to start at $49 each way from Reno, $69 from San Jose or Los Angeles, $144 from Portland, and $140 from Seattle.