Alaska Airlines Wins Approval For Portland Washington, D.C., Service
By Eddy Metcalf
May 17, 2012 - Alaska Airlines will offer a daily
nonstop flight between Portland, Ore., and Ronald Reagan
Washington National Airport by September 8, following
U.S. Department of Transportation approval on Monday of
the carrier's application to fly the new route.
"Providing residents of the greater Portland area with
convenient nonstop service to the closest airport to our
nation's capital has been a priority for us for a long
time and we're delighted this day has come," said Brad
Tilden, Alaska Air Group's chief executive
officer-elect. "We thank the DOT for their vote of
confidence in Alaska Airlines."
Tilden also credits the grassroots efforts of some
13,000 people who submitted letters to the Department of
Transportation in support of the carrier's application.
No other carrier currently provides nonstop service to Reagan
National from Portland International Airport. Alaska Airlines'
flights to National will significantly improve connecting
service for passengers traveling from Eugene, Medford and
Redmond Bend, Ore. With more than three decades of service to
the Rose City, Alaska and its sister carrier, Horizon Air,
operate more than 640 flights a week from their Portland hub
more than any other carrier.
"Oregon is one of the nation's most underserved regions for
flight access to the East Coast, yet Washington, D.C., is one of
Portland's top 10 destinations," said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden,
D-Ore. "The current flights can handle only a fraction of the
demand from PDX to D.C., but with the approval of Alaska
Airlines' route application, the opportunity for economic growth
in Oregon and the greater Pacific Northwest increases. As Oregon
continues to grow as a hub for technological innovation, and
Washington, D.C., remains the center for tech policy, additional
direct flights can only help to further cement Oregon's position
as a leader in tech businesses."
Wyden and Oregon's six other members of Congress strongly
supported Alaska Airlines' application for Portland-Reagan
service. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Washington Gov. Christine
Gregoire, and the congressional delegations from the states of
Alaska and Washington also wrote letters urging the DOT to
approve the airline's application.
"It's great news for Oregonians and businesses to finally have a
convenient nonstop flight to the nation's capital. I have
fiercely championed this effort for many years," said U.S. Rep.
Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. "As the Pacific Northwest's home airline
and with their strong Portland hub, Alaska Airlines is perfectly
suited to serve this route and I applaud DOT for recognizing
National is one of the few domestic commercial airports in the nation
that requires airlines to receive DOT approval to add flights. Alaska
applied for two of the four flight slots currently available for
bidding: one from Portland and another from San Diego.
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