Oklahoma's growing bioscience sector helped persuade United Airlines to launch a nonstop daily flight between Oklahoma City and San Francisco.
Beginning Aug. 29, flight 6241 will depart Will Rogers World Airport at 7:14 a.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 8:50 a.m. The return flight 6240 will depart San Francisco at 4 p.m. and arrive in Oklahoma City at 9:16 p.m.
United Express carrier SkyWest Airlines will operate the flights using Canadair CRJ7 regional jet aircraft with 66 seats — six in first class, 28 in
The Oklahoma Bioscience Association provided some of the impetus through a survey of local members conducted at the request of Oklahoma City officials from Will Rogers World Airport, Association President Sheri Stickley said.
“We got a huge response back, first of all,” Stickley said. “And secondly, from what (airport marketing director) Karen Carney tells me, that was something that the United folks actually considered in making their decision.”
The new connection could produce more venture capital flowing from investor-rich California to Oklahoma, Stickley said, because investors often prefer funding companies that can be reached via a direct flight.
Among the connections that turned up in the quick survey, Stickley said, was the research done locally at the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute and the San Francisco-based American
“It's a really good thing for Oklahoma City and for the entire state,” Stickley said.
James Starnes, United's director of domestic planning, agreed that the flights will connect people working in biosciences in Oklahoma and California.
The nonstop flight will “provide a link between Oklahoma City's growing bioscience community and the established bioscience community in San Francisco,” Starnes said.
The new service also will provide Oklahoma City travelers with nonstop service to a major hub airport for easier connections to the western United States, Asia and Australia, he said. United operates more than 260 daily departures from San Francisco to the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Mark Kranenburg, airport director for Will Rogers World Airport, said once the new flight begins, Oklahoma City will be connected to seven of United's hubs across the country.
“The addition of United's nonstop service to San Francisco is really great news for Oklahoma City,” Kranenburg said. “We appreciate United's commitment to the market.”