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Think Out Loud

(Not) On a Jet Plane

How will airline cutbacks impact the way you travel?

Last year 7,451 people flew from Pendleton to Portland on Horizon Air’s 37-seat turbo prop plane. Is that enough people to justify the trip? According to Horizon, the answer is no. They’ve asked the Federal Government to change the flight to Pendleton - Walla Walla - Seattle - Portland. If the Feds decline Horizon warns it will have to ground the flight completely.

Horizon’s also terminating direct flights between Portland and Klamath Falls and North Bend/Coos Bay (just as they built a new 25 million dollar airport). Delta — the only regularly scheduled airline out of Salem — is grounding all flights. They’re also stopping their Eugene to Los Angeles flight. US Airways is pulling out of Eugene completely. And at Portland International Airport there’s a 9.9 percent decline in the number of available seats on flights from a year ago.

Increased fuel costs and stagnant passenger loads are hitting the airline industry hard. And now those cuts are really starting to impact people who fly in the Pacific Northwest. Gone are the days of just making seats smaller and exchanging fancy china plates for small, light plastic ones. Now flights that many people rely on are being cut — or the frequency reduced.

What’s your experience flying in and out of airports in Oregon and Washington? Is your favorite flight being grounded? Will the cutbacks change the way you commute for business, hurt your company’s bottom line, or limit how often you visit family and friends?

Photo credit: Davipt / Flickr / Creative Commons

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