SeaPort Offers Service Between PDX And BFI
Lots of people travel between
Portland, OR and Seattle, WA on business. There are several ways to
get there. One is Horizon Air's shuttle... but by the time you
park, negotiate the terminal, deal with the TSA, and deal with
ground travel at your destination, flying can take as long or
longer than the three-hour trip by car.
But what if you could fly from Boeing Field instead of Sea-Tac,
putting you closer to Seattle, be guaranteed you'd have no more
than eight fellow passengers, have more convenient parking at a
much smaller, quieter terminal, and not have to take off your
shoes? Would it be worth flying aboard a single-engine turboprop,
with no lavatory or flight attendant, and paying more for it?
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Kent Craford is betting
the answer, at least for many business travelers on day-trips, will
be "yes." Craford is the CEO of SeaPort Airlines, which has
operated for 25 years in Alaska as a commuter airline under the
name, "Wings of Alaska." SeaPort's new service started Monday,
flying Pilatus PC-12s under Part 135 rules between Portland and
Seattle every 45 minutes during peak times. Flight time is only 40
Craford says the idea to provide an alternative to the airlines
came from watching business associates travel between Seattle and
Portland. "I had clients who owned planes, and it was so easy and
comfortable and convenient. Why can't the average Joe do this?
"We bring the convenience of a private plane to the average
business traveler for roughly the same cost of a commercial
airline. We think we will be the new norm for short-distance
Despite the steep introductory fares of $149 round-trip -- which
will become $149 one-way after the introductory offer ends -- some
of SeaPort's planes are already full.
If there was any doubt Horizon was taking notice, it was erased
on opening day Monday. Drivers parked at Boeing Field found flyers
on their cars hyping Horizon Air's new discounted fare of $69 each
way between Seattle and Portland. And Craford says Horizon's VP of
flight ops was seen peering through the fence to see how the first
day was going.
When asked about the fliers, Dan Russo, Horizon's vice president
of marketing, told the P-I, "Just good old American
Craford appeared unfazed. "We take that as validation that we
are on to something. This is the future. We are simply not in the
same market anymore."