Daily Flights at Pangborn Finally Resume After Nearly Two Weeks
This week has seen a return to daily flights on Alaska Airlines arriving at and departing from Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee.
Inbound and outbound flights on Alaska have been suspended at the airport since December 16.
Airport director Trent Moyers says the halts were enacted due to ground instruments at Pangborn being offline combined with a limitation to the onboard equipment of Alaska's aircraft.
"Our instrument landing system has been offline and out of service for a couple of weeks now. That hadn't been an issue until the temperatures here dropped below 20 degrees. When that happened, an issue arose with the airline's (Alaska's) ability to use their proprietary approach equipment instead of our instrument landing system (ILS)."
Moyers says although he cannot officially speak on behalf of Alaska, his understanding is that the altimeters of the aircraft they fly through Pangborn can give false readings when temperatures at lower altitudes get too cold.
Moyers adds that he and other officials at Pangborn were unaware of the limitations involving Alaska's aircraft.
"This was new to us. It's just kind of been the perfect storm having the ILS out of service and then those frigid temperatures which combined and caused the cancellations."
Moyers says he doesn't know if the cold-weather altimeter limitations are relegated to Alaska's Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft or if they will also potentially affect the airline's Embraer 175 regional jets that are scheduled to begin serving Pangborn on January 27.
Pangborn's ILS is ready to go back online but needs to be flight checked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before it can be used for daily operations. Moyers says he hopes the FAA will be available to test the system for reinstatement sometime in the coming weeks.