Alaska Cutting Daily Pangborn Flights From Three to One
Alaska Airlines, parent company of Horizon Airlines, will slash its number of daily flights to and from Pangborn Memorial Airport from three to just one in September.
Chelan-Douglas Regional Port Authority CEO Jim Kuntz said the cut is the result of two main issues: Alaska's ongoing pilot shortage and its transition from smaller turbo propeller airplanes to regional jets.
"What we don't know is when we are going to come back to more normalcy." Kuntz said, "We do not know. I've been asking and we have not gotten any responses to that. So disappointing news."
Horizon's transition to one flight is expected by September 22nd. The lone daily flight is reportedly set to take off from East Wenatchee in the mid-day, possibly around 1:00 pm.
"The schedule is built to be more favorable to people who want to get to Wenatchee." continued Kuntz, "It is not a good schedule for those of us who live here that want to fly out. It makes it an overnight stay and at that point you're driving to SeaTac, you're driving to Spokane, you're driving to some other airport."
Horizon's reduction of daily flights to the Wenatchee Valley is part of a larger scaling-back of service by Alaska Airlines. Airports across the Pacific Northwest will see their daily flights slashed, although Pangborn is reportedly one of only two airports in the region that will see its flights reduced by as much as two thirds.
An additional airline carrier that provides less-than-daily service has allegedly expressed interest in flying into Pangborn. Although the destination city has not been named, it was described as an hour to an hour-and-a-half away and supports 21 seasonal 1-way destinations including Mexico City, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Local officials could try to lure the carrier to the Wenatchee Valley through tax incentives and by providing aviation fuel at cost.
Kuntz added that the port needs to continue to plan like Pangborn will be a great regional facility. The airport will get a new, $35 million runway in 2025 and is in the process of widening some of its taxiway to meet FAA standards.