Here's the official press release:
Horizon to discontinue Port Angeles flights
Horizon Air announced today the discontinuation of all service from Port Angeles, Wash., after Jan. 6, 2004.
"It's with great regret that we leave Port Angeles, where we've been part of the community since 1987," said Pat Zachwieja, vice president, Marketing and Planning. "This was not an easy decision and not without a great deal of thought and analysis of other alternatives. I would like to thank our Port Angeles employees who have dedicated themselves to outstanding customer service and our customers in Clallam County who have supported us there through the years."
Last year, Horizon enplaned 22,339 passengers at Port Angeles on its four daily flights between Port Angeles and Seattle with 37-seat Q200 turboprops. Over the past 12 months, flights from Port Angeles have averaged 44 percent full, well below Horizon's system-wide average of 63 percent for the same period.
Over the past four months, Horizon operated 99 percent of its scheduled flights from Port Angeles and maintained a 98 percent on-time record.
Most passengers who fly from Port Angeles make connections to other major carriers at Sea-Tac, particularly Alaska Airlines.
Short-distance routes operated by Horizon are often unprofitable on a stand-alone basis. However, the additional ticket revenue gained when passengers connect to longer haul flights on Horizon and Alaska can usually offset those losses. In the case of Port Angeles, a combination of low load factors, downward pressure on long-haul fares, and rising costs has kept the route unprofitable.
Zachwieja said he believes government-imposed fees and airport facility charges that now add an additional $18.50 roundtrip for a connecting flight are partially responsible for people choosing to drive to Sea-Tac rather than fly from Port Angeles.
"For a family of four, that's $74 more in taxes to fly from Port Angeles, plus the extra cost for the connecting flight -- which is also taxed by the federal government," he said. "It's difficult for us to charge more for our tickets from Port Angeles when the government is taking such a large chunk already."
No plans for additional flying in existing or new markets have been decided at this time, according to Zachwieja.
Horizon currently employs 10 customer services employees at Port Angeles.
"We want to do everything we can to help these individuals during the transition, and we'll work closely with them to identify any potential opportunities they want to pursue," said Marne McCluskey, director of employee resources. "They have already been guaranteed positions in Seattle as ground services agents, and they are also welcome to apply for any posted positions at Horizon or Alaska for which they are qualified. We hope to see them continue to be a part of our company."
Customers holding tickets for travel to or from Port Angeles on Horizon Air after Jan. 6, 2004, will be re-accommodated on flights out of Seattle or offered refunds.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group