Seaport Airlines is ending their two year air service to Newport and their two month service to Salem effective Monday, July 18th. Seaport launched their service to Newport only after the state put up several million dollars in ridership subsidies to entice Seaport to provide airline service to and from Portland, with connecting flights to Boeing Field in Seattle.
But when the subsidies ran out, Seaport started talking about ending service unless their pilots could get free overnight hotel accommodations in exchange for airline tickets or enhanced ridership from a community-wide promotional blitz. But neither tactic worked to either lower costs or boost passenger counts.
Then suddenly airport officials at McNary Field in Salem were notified late Monday that Seaport would also cease flights to Salem. One official said they had known for a while that Seaport was going to end their service to Newport but had no clue that Seaport had the same intent for them. Newport Mayor Mark McConnell said that he heard informally only today that Seaport’s service to Newport would end Friday. McConnell’s call to Seaport corporate headquarters confirmed it.
McConnell said he and airport manager Gene Cossey are exploring potential ridership figures recently developed by airline consulting firm Mead and Hunt. McConnell told NewsLincolnCounty.com that the city will continue to explore avenues to get airline service re-established in Newport.
Seaport said in its news release that high fuel prices and “market trends” have made any chance at profitability unlikely in the foreseeable future. They said they will continue to offer charter services for both Newport and Salem for companies and groups. Seaport said refunds will be offered for all Newport and Salem passengers who have purchased tickets or vouchers for flights scheduled after July17th.Share on Facebook