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Port Continues To Hunt For Air Service

March 8th, 2017 - 10:30 am

Port Angeles – The Port of Port Angeles continues its efforts to bring a new air carrier onto the Peninsula.

They released an update on their latest negotiations with Zephyr Air and another unnamed air carrier.

The Port also continues to talk with Zephyr Air and one other airline about air service. Zephyr is currently reevaluating its initial proposal and the Port hopes to review it soon.

So far, Zephyr is proposing one-way flights of $160-dollars to either Sea-Tac or Boeing Field starting this May. Zephyr's aircraft for Fairchild would be a Piper PA-46 Malibu, a single engine plane with the capacity for one pilot and five passengers.

The port has found that feedback from some of the 13 airlines approached by Port staff in the last two years indicate that there is not high enough demand to generate the revenue necessary to cover the costs of a company that might consider providing service at Fairchild International Airport.

Flight overhead costs have gone up significantly in recent years with the doubling in the cost of aviation fuel and increased pilots’ salaries because of a nationwide pilot shortage.

Major airlines also cut the feeder flights to hubs from smaller airports. Alaska Airlines used to run such a program with Horizon from Fairchild to SeaTac, but that stopped in early 2004.

These challenges confront nearly all rural airports in the nation. Some have qualified for federal Essential Air Service (EAS) funding, which enable smaller airlines to offer much lower rates. The EAS has very strict guidelines, under which the Port is currently ineligible.

Port board and staff are in talks with the Washington State federal congressional delegation about legislation to revise the EAS guidelines.

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