Hesperian celebrates the publication of our newest title, A Community Guide to Environmental Health!
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There is also a digital version available for free download by clicking here.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Horizon Air will be discontinuing flights from Klamath Falls north to Portland. And the story gives a glimpse of the hidden economy of the airline industry:The announcement came as the Klamath Falls Airport prepared to welcome United Express line SkyWest Air, which will start offering southbound flights Monday to San Francisco.Small Community Air Service Grants are a federal subsidy administered out of the Dept. of Transportation, designed to keep commercial air service available in places other than the big urban hubs. Tentatively, the DOT has in the neighborhood of $10 million to award through the program.
Horizon's June 27 decision to pull out of Klamath Falls and North Bend/Coos Bay was unexpected, though city and airport officials say it didn't come as a shock, either.
Airline officials cited rising fuel costs as a major factor - jet fuel costs have rocketed from $80 a barrel to more than $150, an increase of almost 100 percent.
The partner carrier of Alaska Air also is transitioning to larger planes that may not be financially viable in smaller markets, officials said. Currently, Horizon flies the 37-seat Q200. The new plane, the Q400, is designed to hold 76 passengers.
Klamath Falls Airport Director Derek Martin said it was unlikely the local community could fill the bigger planes, even if the airline offered two flights per day instead of the current three a day. The Q200 flights aren't full now.
"If traffic had been stronger and we had been more profitable, we probably wouldn't have been taking this action," said Dan Russo, vice president of marketing and communications at Horizon Air.
Russo added that the new southbound service would cut into already small passenger loads, and SkyWest's entrance into the market gave the company added incentive to pull out.
Horizon Air was not offered a revenue guarantee - called a small community air service grant - to fly north, Russo said. United Express will be getting one over the next year.
The grant, which will disperse about $390,000 to the southbound provider and includes $10,000 for marketing, is geared to help the new carrier during its "ramp up" period, Martin said. Before Klamath Falls courted other airlines, it offered the incentive and grant to Horizon for a southerly route, he added.
Horizon Air refused the offer.