SeaPort Airlines Inc. began service on Wednesday between Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and the Imperial Valley.
The Portland, Ore.-based air carrier will provide 12 non-stop roundtrip flights a week to and from Imperial County Airport in El Centro using a nine-passenger seat Cessna Caravan.
The U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval in April for SeaPort to begin the Burbank service.
“What it does is allow SeaPort to introduce to the Imperial Valley traveler a gateway at the Bob Hope Airport,” said Victor Gill, spokesman for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the airport’s owner and operator.
SeaPort also provides service in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas.
The last new air carrier to locate at Bob Hope was SkyBus Airlines in 2007. The airline offered flights between Burbank and its hub in Columbus, Ohio for a year before going out of business.
As a regional airport, Bob Hope is an alternative to Los Angeles International Airport, providing non-stop service primarily to West Coast cities. But air traffic declined 5.7 percent in 2012 to 4.1 million passengers.
Last year, American Airlines pulled its operations out of Bob Hope, and Jet Blue and Delta have shifted flights to other airports.