Heading South: Alaska Airlines Eyes Belize With New Routes

Alaska Airlines has commenced flights to Belize City from its west coast hubs of Los Angeles and Seattle. On Friday, November 19, the first flight took off from Seattle, carrying 132 passengers and crew. It makes Alaska Airlines the only US-based carrier to serve Belize from as far north as Seattle.

Alaska Airlines 737
Alaska Airlines started flights to Belize City last week. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Year-round Belize flights from LAX, seasonal services from Seattle

Like Seattle, Alaska’s Boeing 737-800 flights to Belize City from Los Angeles commenced on Friday. That plane touched down one hour after the Seattle flight. Flights out of Los Angeles will run year-round four days a week. The seasonal flights from Seattle will operate twice weekly.

“For nearly two decades, the Belizean market has been on our radar,” said Alaska’s Brett Catlin. “We’re thrilled to now be inaugurating service from both Seattle and Los Angeles.

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, flight AS965 will push back from Los Angeles International at 11:30 for the four-hour 45-minute flight down to Belize City. AS965 lands at 18:15.

The return flight heads back the following morning – every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, at 10:00, landing in Los Angeles at 13:30.

Every Friday and Saturday until May 21, 2022, an Alaska Boeing will depart Seattle at 08:30. The flight will operate as AS902. It will take six hours and 15 minutes to cover the 2,820 miles (4,539 kilometers) down to Belize City, arriving there at 16:35.

Like the Los Angeles-bound flights, the return flights to Seattle will head back the following day. AS321 leaves Belize City at 08:00 and touches down in Seattle 12:50.

Belize’s Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations, Anthony Mahler, welcomed the new flights, saying;

“In addition to attracting greater business investment and human capital, this new flight will also spur tourism which is essential for Belize’s prosperity. It comes at a very opportune time as it further boosts the industry’s recovery efforts.”

Alaska 737
Alaska Airlines will operate its Belize flights using Boeing 737s. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska is the only US airline to fly to Belize from the west coast

Alaska Airlines becomes the seventh US airline to fly into Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. American flies in from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Miami. Delta comes in from Atlanta. Frontier jets in from Orlando. Southwest recently resumed flights from Houston. Sun Country comes in from Minneapolis/St. Paul. United Airlines offers a suite of flights from Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston, and Newark. Canada’s WestJet is also offering seasonal flights from Toronto and Calgary.

But only Alaska Airlines is flying into Belize from Seattle. “We therefore value our partnership with Alaska Airlines in providing such a vital connectivity for travelers from the West Coast,” said Mr Mahler.

Belize’s tourism minister says the new Alaska flights from Los Angeles and Seattle will pump an estimated US$70 million to $80 million into the Belize economy annually. “It’s huge, especially at this time,” he said.

Alaska Airlines 737
Alaska Airlines says its interest in Belize goes back two decades. Photo: Alaska Airlines

According to a yarn told by Alaska’s market strategy boss, Kevin Lemme, to mark the new flights, Alaska’s interest in Belize goes back two decades when an employee just back from a holiday there questioned why the airline didn’t fly there – a neat even if unlikely story.

The prospects of Alaska flights to Belize flights really got into gear when Belize and its tourism bodies formally approached Alaska Airlines with a proposal to fly in from the west coast. It took two years to develop the tentative proposal into reality. Mr Lemme notes the Friday’s flights only took off because of the work done by Belize, saying;

“It’s this partnership, this really strong bond that your community partners have provided with Alaska Airlines that built this confidence to add Belize as the fourth country that we serve from the United States.”