RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, SEAN JONES
Richmond airline passengers could have an easier time to get to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska courtesy of a $1 million federal grant.
The grant will specifically help Richmond International Airport develop nonstop service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the third-largest hub on the West Coast. It will also provide connectivity to other areas in the region.
The process for developing a route could take several years, according to an airport spokesperson. A similar grant award for service to Denver took about 2 1/2 years to complete.
“The airport plans to use this significant funding to help obtain nonstop service to Seattle, Washington, which will provide greater connectivity and access between the people and business of Richmond region and the Pacific Northwest as well as to beyond points in Alaska and western Canada,” said Perry J. Miller, president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Commission.
The grant was received after a joint letter of support from U.S. Representatives Jennifer McClellan, Abigail Spanberger and Rob Wittman. It was also submitted alongside the Capital Region Airport Commission, ChamberRVA and the Greater Richmond Partnership and Richmond Region Tourism.
The grant was awarded to the commission, which manages the airport.
“Richmond International Airport is an important hub for travel, tourism, and commerce in Virginia’s Fourth District,” McClellan said. “This funding will help further enhance their airport operations and support Richmond’s growing economy.”
RIC has only recently begun adding nonstop service to the West Coast, with direct routes to both San Francisco and Los Angeles. The route to Seattle is a third major city for Richmond travelers.
RIC set records earlier this year when it had 393,355 passengers in April, the most recorded for that month. Those numbers came after setting a record in March 2023, with 385,000 passengers, higher than any pre-pandemic tally for that month.
The airport is currently in “growth mode,” adding routes across the country with a variety of new permanent routes, like the one to Los Angeles plus other destinations like Las Vegas and Phoenix. Long-term plans call for flights to popular vacation routes in the Caribbean, and possibly Europe.