A Record 2006
It's a second record year in a row for the Port of Portland and PDX. More than 14 million of us traveled through the airport last year. 14,042,970, if you want to be exact. That's 1.2% above the record year in 2005... and above the 14 million mark for the first time ever. Not bad for a metro area of less than 2.5 million residents.
Current PDX Routes
Current route map of non-stop flights out of PDX. Created using the "Great Circle Mapper."
A lot of the passenger growth is being fueled by the ever-increasing number of international flights. Just five years ago, when Delta pulled-down its Asia-Pacific hub here, PDX was left with flights to Vancouver, BC as its only international connection. Now, Portland is the smallest city in the US with daily non-stops to Europe, Asia, and Mexico. And international service continues astounding growth.
It all starts with Mexicana, which took a chance on Portland a few years ago, adding non-stops flights to Guadalajara. In 2006, those flights went daily, and they were frequently sold-out.
Seeing that success, Portland's hub airline, Alaska, decided to get in on the action in 2006, adding new non-stops to both Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. The flights have turned-out to be so popular, it's almost impossible to get a seat, even a couple months in advance.
A few years ago, Lufthansa German Airlines came to Portland, with non-stops to Frankfurt. Lufthansa shunned Seattle in a move that shocked aviation analysts in both the US and Europe. It turned out to be a great move... and in 2006, the airline went to 5-weekly flights during the winter, and daily non-stops in the summer.
The Port has also had success in luring Northwest Airlines to launch non-stop flights to Tokyo (and continuing service to Singapore). Northwest replaced Delta on the route, and has frequently reported more than 90% of all seats sold.
More Flights to US Cities
In 2006, Portland saw increased flights on many popular west coast routes, and added three new US cities to the route map.
US Airways launched Portland's first-ever non-stop flights to Philadelphia. They operate daily now.
At the same time, Big Sky Airlines started weekend service to Missoula and Helena, Montana. That service proved to be so popular, it's now been expanded to daily.
And 2007 will see even more growth. Alaska Airlines is leading the way, adding Portland's first ever non-stops to both Boston and Orlando. It's Alaska's first foray into transcontinental flying at PDX. Meanwhile, Delta has annouced it will reinstate non-stop flights from Portland to New York's Kennedy Airport, joining jetBlue on the route.
What it all Means
All the new flights mean, first and foremost, more options for Portland travelers. It's so much easier for a business traveler, based in Portland, to get around in 2007, than it was in 2002. Not to mention how much easier it is for a tourist, visiting Oregon, to get here.
In the long run, more flights should mean lower fares. Take the New York City route, for example. In 2003, Continental was the only airline flying between PDX and New York (into Newark airport). Fares were running over $500. Now, Delta, jetBlue, and Continental compete on the route, and fares are as low as $250 round-trip. Portland will continue to see lower fares, more travelers, and more options.
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