Two of Washington’s small, rural communities are about to get better connected to the state’s major global transportation hub: SeaTac International Airport. Seaport Airlines has announced a plan to launch air service in March 2016 from SeaTac to both Port Angeles and Moses Lake. The Portland-based airline is responding to incentives approved by Port of Seattle earlier this year. Serving in her role as a Commissioner for the Port of Port Angeles, Washington Business Alliance President Colleen McAleer was the catalyst that brought the opportunity before the Port of Seattle.

Interior of the Cessna Caravan turboprop aircraft

McAleer praised the service expansion: “This is great news for our community in Port Angeles, but it’s ultimately a bigger story. It’s about ports across the state working together to increase regional connectivity. The cooperation will connect some of Washington’s smaller and more rural communities to SeaTac, and both parties will benefit.”

SeaTac airport landing fees and certain facility charges will be waived for the first year, halved for the second year, and normalized during the third year onward. Port Angeles will be serviced by five round trip flights to SeaTac each weekday; three for Moses Lake. Flight frequencies are reduced on weekends. All Seaport Airlines flights are operated with a 9-passenger Cessna Caravan turboprop aircraft.

The economics of air travel have shifted in recent years, putting service to small airports in steep decline. In 2000, there were 42,000 annual passenger arrivals in 11 Washington State airports. Currently, there are less than 15,000 arrivals in just seven airports.

We are extremely pleased that this new service will re-establish a vital connection for Port Angeles and create much needed jobs there and in the surrounding community,” declared Port of Seattle Commissioner Tom Albro in a statement to the press. “In running SeaTac, [the commission strives] to serve our entire region. We know air service provides a critical economic link and that some Pacific Northwest communities are struggling to attract viable air service.”

Photo Credit: Peninsula Daily News