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New Airline Startup Northern Pacific Airways Announces Inaugural Route

The controversial start-up carrier will launch flights between Ontario, California and Las Vegas this summer

by Fergus Cole

March 9, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Northern Pacific Airways

Start-up airline Northern Pacific Airways has announced that its first commercial flights will connect Los Angeles with Las Vegas, set to begin this summer.

Northern Pacific Airways has faced criticism since it was founded in 2021 for its slightly unorthodox business model. The Alaska-based carrier’s initial plan was to operate low-cost, long-haul flights between the U.S. and Asia out of its central hub at Anchorage (ANC), using a fleet of used Boeing 757s.

It then changed to operating flights between the U.S. and Mexico, followed by yet another odd change in strategy, which would involve moving its base from Anchorage to Saipan (SPN) in the Northern Mariana Islands.

With today’s announcement, however, the start-up carrier will finally launch its first commercial flights, although initially on a domestic scale.

Photo: Courtesy of Northern Pacific Airways

From June 4, 2023, Northern Pacific Airways will begin operating flights between Ontario International Airport (ONT)—outside Los Angeles—and Las Vegas (LAS).

The weekly service is scheduled to depart Ontario at 2:00 PM each Friday, with the return leg leaving Las Vegas at 2:00 PM each Saturday. Flights on the short-haul route will last around an hour – about a quarter of the time it takes to drive between the two destinations.

Tickets are now available on the low-cost carrier’s website, with fares starting at just $69 one way.

“Yes, we are going to operate flights from ONT to LAS this summer,” said Rob McKinney, CEO of Northern Pacific Airways. “Asia is still coming, but with everything going on in the world, international flying is substantially more complicated. To get planes in the air, we are beginning with a domestic strategy.”

Photo: Courtesy of Northern Pacific Airways

“This announcement represents the achievement of a major milestone for Northern Pacific Airways. The airline now has a live flight schedule, purchasable tickets, and refurbished aircraft ready to go, and I can’t wait for passengers to meet our team onboard and fly with us,” McKinney said.

“I know that our weekend getaway flights will be an incredibly convenient and cost-effective way for people to enjoy themselves in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas.”

Northern Pacific Airways will face competition on the route in the form of fellow low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

Southwest currently operates six flights per day between ONT and LAS from Monday to Friday, as well as three services on Saturdays and five on Sundays.

Tickets are only slightly more expensive than Northern Pacific Airways, starting at $75 one way. Frontier also operates the route daily, with prices advertised as low as $19 each way on its website.