Alaska Airlines Inaugurates Daily Service Between Portland, Ore., and Reagan Washington National Airport
Six World War II veterans onboard first flight to visit national WWII Memorial
8/28/2012 10:55:51 AM
SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines and the Port of Portland today inaugurated new nonstop service between Portland, Ore., and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington. D.C. Elected officials from Washington and Oregon joined in a patriotic send-off for passengers onboard Flight 764, which included six Oregon World War II veterans, many of whom were traveling to the nation's capital for the first time.
"Providing residents of the greater Portland area with convenient nonstop service to the closest airport to our nation's capital has been a priority for us for more than seven years and we're delighted to celebrate this day with six men who sacrificed so much for our country," said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing.
The veterans are traveling as guests of Alaska Airlines and will spend three days in Washington, D.C. The trip is being organized by Honor Flight of Oregon, a nonprofit group dedicated to taking Oregon's veterans to the nation's capital to see the memorials built in their honor.
"It's an honor to be able to take this trip," said World War II veteran Frank L. Beckwith, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. "Freedom came at a price. Many men gave their lives for the freedom I have and seeing these memorials will be a way to honor their sacrifice."
Thanks in part to statements of support for the route by the congressional delegations from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana, as well as the Port of Portland, Alaska Airlines secured one of four new flights into Reagan National Airport. In addition, more than 10,000 letters from Alaska Air Group employees and Oregon residents were submitted to the Department of Transportation in favor of the route.
"I was proud to lend my support to this flight and I applaud the hard work and cooperation between the Port of Portland and Alaska Airlines that made it possible," said U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. "This is a great day for our community and another signal of the growing strength and importance of our region both nationally and internationally."
Blumenauer and Oregon's six other members of Congress strongly supported Alaska Airlines' application for Portland-Reagan service.
"This nonstop flight to D.C. represents economic opportunity for Portland and Southwest Washington and is a boost for business and tourism," said Sen. Maria Cantwell D-Wash., and chair of the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. "That's why I helped to write the provision in the FAA reauthorization bill that created new flights from Western cities to our nation's capital. This flight will help Portland-area businesses reach their customers more quickly and it makes this region a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs."
No other carrier currently provides nonstop service to Reagan National from Portland International Airport. Alaska Airlines operates three other daily nonstop flights to Reagan National: two from Seattle and one from Los Angeles.
"I was honored to fight for and help secure this new flight that will give folks in Southwest Washington a direct link to our nation's capital," said U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. "Our region's residents and economy will benefit from Alaska's new nonstop flight to Washington, D.C., and I'm proud to join some of our brave veterans, my northwest colleagues and Alaska Airlines in marking this special occasion."
"We are thrilled with today's launch, as helping establish this Portland-Washington National route has been our highest domestic air service priority," said Bill Wyatt, Port of Portland executive director. "We applaud Alaska Airlines, our congressional delegation and our community for their combined efforts that made this route a reality."
Summary of new Portland, Ore.-Reagan National flights:
|Aug. 28||Portland-Reagan National||9:30 a.m.||5:40 p.m.||Daily|
|Aug. 28||Reagan National-Portland||5:10 p.m.||7:55 p.m.||Daily|
|Times based on local time zones|
Visit www.alaskaair.com to purchase a ticket or call 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522 or TTY/TDD line 1-800-392-0228).
The flights are being operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 141 in the main cabin. All flights offer Alaska's Northern Bites® meal service, which provides passengers in the main cabin with a hot meal for $6 or a cheese and fruit platter for $7. The flights also offer Alaska's inflight entertainment system, a handheld video-on-demand device featuring more than 70 hit movies, along with television programs and other entertainment. The inflight entertainment players are complimentary in first class and available for $10 in the main cabin.
Note to media: Photos from the morning gate celebration, including the World War II veterans, are posted in the carrier's online image gallery at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom. High-definition b-roll of Alaska Airlines aircraft in operation is available for download on the carrier's FTP site at www.alaskaair.com/media.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.
About the Port of Portland
Established in 1891 by the Oregon Legislature, the Port of Portland owns three airports (Portland International, Hillsboro and Troutdale), four marine terminals and five industrial parks. The mission of the Port is to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets.
About Honor Flight Network
Based on recent statistics, the United States loses more than 900 World War II veterans a day. Honor Flight Network was created to help do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of veterans by helping them travel to Washington, D.C., absolutely free. The nonprofit was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain. Morse wanted to honor the veterans he'd taken care of over many years, and quickly realized how impactful the trip would be for them. The inaugural flight took off in May 2005, when six small planes flew 12 World War II veterans from Springfield, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. In August 2005, a long list of anxious veterans led to commercial airlines in order to accommodate and expand the service as much as possible. Since then, the network has transported more than 81,000 veterans to see the memorials that mean so much to them. Learn more at www.honorflight.org.