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Newport Looks At Air Service

Boutique aircraft (photo from their website)

After more than 10 years without passenger air service, the Newport Municipal Airport may begin to offer flights within the next year. If awarded, the state grant would provide $500,000 and require a local match of $50,000. The city would partner with Boutique Air. At the start, one way fares would average $45.

Connecting flights could be booked through United Airlines directly to Newport. The grant funding would help with startup costs for this operation. City Manager Spencer Nebel said "the City would be well served by pursuing this funding to establish scheduled passenger air service in and out of Newport." Councilor David Allen expressed concern of bringing in airport service and wondering if they would leave, as Seaport did, when the subsidy ran out.

Lance Vanderbeck, airport director pointed out that Boutique, has interline baggage agreements with both United and American Airlines, provides rural air service in 16 states and 30 different airports, something that Seaport Air did not and would not do. The proposal offers five round trips each week, about one trip per day between Newport and PDX.

One of the efforts during the course of the first year would be to determine whether there are any additional funds that could help sustain this service in the event ridership revenue is insufficient to sustain the service. The City Council plans to meet with Boutique Air prior to committing to any final agreements should the grant be awarded. The City Council approved five to one with Councilor Ryan opposing to submit the application to the Oregon Department of Aviation for a rural air service grant.

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