Alaska Airlines announced the return of flights between Redmond Municipal Airport and Portland International Airport, something people in Central Oregon have been clamoring for since the option went away a few years ago. But the returning service will only be available from late fall to early spring.
The flights will be available between Nov. 29 and April 10. Alaska said that’s the time of year when it can be particularly difficult to travel over the mountains by car.
“For me, having a little sedan car for the winter, it’s way better than trying to go over Santiam or Hood to get back to Portland to go see family,” said Horizon employee Kelie Coxen.
Coxen lives in Prineville, but says she plans to use the route frequently to visit family in the Portland area.
“It’s way safer, way quicker, I think that’s one of the things that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Airlines wants to touch on,” Coxen said. “It’s good to see that they want the communities to be safe as well.”
The airline said the service will be once-per-day round-trip flights. Booking availability will open Saturday. Alaska did not say what the initial fare will be.
“This route has been the top ask from both communities and will be highly impactful to the business population that commutes between the two cities,” Kevin Lemme, Alaska Airlines general manager of airline planning and network performance, said in a statement. “We’re excited that we can resume service on a winter-seasonal basis.”
Alaska said it suspended the RDM-PDX route near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic due to what it called “regional capacity constraints.” Since then, people trying to fly to Portland from Redmond would most often have to connect in Seattle.
“Four or five times a week we get questions from passengers who routinely go from Redmond to Seattle, Seattle to Portland,” Coxen said. “They we’re asking when it’s coming back, and there’s been some grayness for us staff members on it because we didn’t really know what was going on.”
One visitor at the airport said they would consider using the route to connect into Central Oregon rather than through another West Coast airport.
“I would prefer to go I think Portland, and then here,” Orange County Resident Liz Broedlowpl said.
Broedlowpl is still holding out for a direct flight to Orange County, but prefers connecting through PDX.
“I’m pretty used to it,” she said. “I like going through that airport, it’s a comfortable airport to deal with.
It’s the latest expansion of service between Redmond and other western U.S. destinatons. In recent months, Avelo announced nonstop service between Redmond and Las Vegas as well as Redmond and Sonoma, Calif.