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 economy plus, and 32 in economy.
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 Academy of Ophthalmology. Also, CoMentis, a company focused on developing treatments for Alzheimers, is based in San Francisco and conducts research in Oklahoma City.