FAA clears Northern Pacific Airways for takeoff, aims to compete on LA-Las Vegas route.

Northern Pacific Airways has achieved a major operational landmark by securing its air carrier certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), indicating it's ready to kick off scheduled passenger flights later this week. CEO Rob McKinney broke the news on Twitter, verifying that the budding airline had successfully navigated all requisite assessments.

Initially slated to begin operations last month, Northern Pacific's launch was delayed due to pending FAA approvals. The airline had planned to inaugurate flights connecting Ontario International Airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area with Las Vegas Strip. Now, with the fresh certification in tow, the airline has announced a new date, July 14, for these inaugural flights to take to the skies.

By tapping into the Los Angeles to Las Vegas route, Northern Pacific Airways intends to make its mark in a market currently served only by budget carriers, Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The airline's timetable is designed to cater to Los Angeles metro area residents seeking a Las Vegas weekend retreat.

According to McKinney, the debut flight, scheduled to leave Ontario at 2 p.m. local time every Friday, is already fully booked. The return flight from Las Vegas is set for a 2 p.m. departure every Sunday.

The fledgling airline boasts a fleet of four Boeing 757-200 aircraft, one of which is operational while the other three remain in storage.

The journey to launch for Northern Pacific Airways hasn't been without obstacles, with multiple delays pushing back its originally intended start date in 2022. However, the purchase of bankrupt regional carrier Ravn Alaska by Float Alaska in 2021 bestowed the necessary resources and assets for Northern Pacific to cement its status.

Looking to the future, McKinney sees Northern Pacific Airways as a Pacific equivalent of Icelandair, which leverages its Reykjavik hub to provide cost-effective, multi-stop service between North America and Europe. Adopting this blueprint, Northern Pacific Airways seeks to link Anchorage with South Korea and Japan. The airline also has its sights set on potential opportunities in other countries, including Canada and Mexico.