Temporary hassles for long-term gain

Tony Bean

PULLMAN — The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport continues to see double-digit growth in passenger activity, with commercial boardings up nearly 25 percent in May.

Through the first five months of the year, a total of 30,781 passengers have boarded commercial flights at the airport. That’s an increase of 3,929, or 14.6 percent, over the same period last year.

Airport Executive Director Tony Bean said some of the activity stems from Alaska Airlines’ decision to pull out of the Lewiston market last August.

However, enrollment growth at Washington State University and continued growth at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories also contributed to the increase.

“We were seeing double-digit growth even before (Alaska Air pulled out of Lewiston), but that’s certainly part of what’s happening,” he said.

During an airport board meeting Wednesday, Bean noted that the passenger “load factor” on Alaska Air/Horizon flights out of Pullman is running right at 80 percent.

“That’s what they want to see,” he said.

The load factor is the percentage of seats that are full during the flight.

In other business Wednesday, the board rejected bids for a perimeter fencing project, as well as for a demolition project to remove some older buildings on property the airport acquired from WSU as part of its runway realignment project.

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