Sunday, October 25, 2015

SeaPort Airlines' call sign, apparel reflect humor

PORT ANGELES — What's not to like about a passenger airline that says its call sign is an abbreviation of Sasquatch?

SeaPort Airlines last week announced it will restore scheduled passenger service between Port Angeles' William R. Fairchild International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 1.

The SeaPort Airlines call sign is SQH, or Sasquatch, the firm says in the history section of its website at

The airline, which is based in Portland, Ore., plans to make five round trips each weekday, three on Saturdays and Sundays. Each one-way flight will take 40 minutes.

Security screening

In the works is the Port of Port Angeles' request for the Transportation Security Agency to screen passengers in Port Angeles.

Without TSA service here, passengers would have to disembark their aircraft to be bused to the front of the Sea-Tac terminal to undergo screening, according to Jerry Ludke, the port's airport manager.

Jennifer States, the port's business director, was in Washington, D.C., on Friday to meet with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer — a Democrat from Gig Harbor who represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — and aides to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, to push for a TSA facility.

“If we had TSA here,” Ludke said, “passengers could get right into the system, and it would be much better.”

Restaurant return?

Also, according to Ludke, a restaurateur has make a serious inquiry to the port about reopening the eatery at the terminal, 1402 Fairchild Airport Road, although whether it would be a full restaurant or a coffee shop is too early to tell.

SeaPort flies nine-passenger, two-pilot Cessna Caravan single-engine turboprops similar to those flown by Kenmore Air until it pulled out of Port Angeles on Nov. 14.

That was about the same time that SeaPort added three new Caravans to its existing fleet of 14 aircraft in the Lower 48 states. The planes cruise at 197 mph with a range of 1,080 miles.

The Port of Port Angeles had sought a replacement for Kenmore Air for nearly a year before SeaPort's announcement Tuesday, with little in the way of progress reports following an air-service market study that port commissioners received in May.

Port commission President Jim Hallett acknowledged public impatience over progress but said the achievement was the result of a persistent port staff that followed commissioners' directions.

“That sometimes takes time,” he said Friday.

“It also was up to the airline to make sure they could staff up and deliver on the commitment.”

SeaPort stopped serving Tupelo, Miss., last August after encountering a pilot shortage. 

At that time, Tim Sieber, the airline's executive vice president, acknowledged the problem it had faced maintaining its schedule with pilots based in the South.

Loyal NW pilots

However, he told the Peninsula Daily News that SeaPort's pilots in the Northwest are happier to stay with the airline and less likely to leave to join larger carriers.

“They are more rooted,” Sieber said last summer.

“They have kids and stuff. They own homes. It tends to be a different pilot demographic than in the South.”

SeaPort on Tuesday also announced it would add three daily flights between Sea-Tac and Moses Lake and one flight linking Moses Lake with Portland, Ore., the airline's headquarters.

“With our focus on serving smaller communities, we believe SeaPort is a great match for Moses Lake and Port Angeles,” airline CEO Rob McKinney said in announcing the service.

Terminal improvements

Fairchild's passenger terminal, Hallett said, will get a “sprucing up” from its year of being vacant, but some amenities like a new ticket counter remained undecided.

That possibility depends on the TSA's willingness to screen passengers in Port Angeles.

Other improvements at Fairchild, Ludke said, will include “a lot of painting and refurbishing, updating signs and some improvements to the restrooms.”

The terminal also likely will get Wi-Fi and a big-screen television, Ludke said.

SeaPort will offer introductory reduced fares between Fairchild and Sea-Tac for $49 one way. Customers can buy them Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, and they will be valid for flights March 1 to April 14.

Where full fares will fall remains to be seen, but SeaPort's fare between Portland and North Bend/Coos Bay, Ore., costs $97.50 through Nov. 8. That trip is about 100 miles longer than the flight from Port Angeles to Sea-Tac.

Travelers who can't wait until March can purchase SeaPort clothing through its website, including boxer shorts.

Besides the airline's logo, they're emblazoned with the slogan “It's About Time.”

The website is silent about whether sizes fit Sasquatch.

Who, what can fly SeaPort

HERE ARE SOME details regarding SeaPort Airlines' service:

■ Baggage: Travelers who purchase premium fares can carry two bags weighing up to 50 pounds apiece.

Otherwise, one bag up to 50 pounds and no longer than 62 inches — plus carry-on items such as purses, small backpacks, briefcases or diaper bags — is permitted.

Umbrellas, outerwear, mobility aids, child seats and collapsible strollers also can be brought aboard.

If passengers' connections are via Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines, which are SeaPort ticketing partners, their luggage can be checked through, although they may have to go through security separately.

■ Children: Infants younger than 14 days cannot fly. 

Those 14 days to 2 years old who occupy the same seat as a fare-paying adult fly free. 

Children younger than 5 must be accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

Unaccompanied children 5 to 7 years old are accepted only on nonstop flights (as are all trips between William R. Fairchild International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). 

Unaccompanied children 7 to 11 years old are subject to a $50 service charge.

■ Pets: Domestic cats, dogs and household birds weighing less than 40 pounds apiece can fly for $50 in approved carriers in the cargo area inside the cabin. 

Service animals fly for free.

■ Boarding: Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the terminal 90 minutes before takeoff.

■ Details: Visit

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