Air service returns to 2 rural towns

Air service returns to 2 rural towns

KLAMATH FALLS Rural communities around the state suffered this summer from a round of cuts to air service, but fall is bringing a little relief as United Airlines/Skywest Airlines this month begins service between Portland and both Klamath Falls and North Bend-Coos Bay.

The service starts Oct. 12 with two daily round trips and comes one day beforeĀ  the loss of northbound service as Seattle-based Horizon Air ends its direct Portland flights on Oct. 11. Horizon is transitioning to larger 76-seat turboprops; Skywest will use 30-passenger Embraer 120 Brasilia aircraft.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who recently created a coalition to address the dwindling rural air service problem, announced that funding for the agreement in part comes from a revenue- sharing guarantee contract between Skywest and the City of Klamath Falls and Coos County Airport District, and is supported by federal grants and $300,000 from the City of Portland.

Horizon also has told the U.S. Department of Transportation that it wants to eliminate its three daily Pendleton-Portland fights; the airline gets a federal subsidy of $748,000 for that service. Horizon received no federal subsidy for its Klamath and North Bend routes.

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