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PDX sees 94% drop in passengers, fewer flights and worker furloughs

On average, most flights coming and going from PDX have only 10-20 percent of their seats filled.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland International Airport is bracing for a dismal next few months, after seeing a 94% drop in passengers compared to last year.

“Unless something dramatic changes, we think we’re bouncing along the bottom here,” explained Port of Portland COO Dan Pippenger during a port commission meeting Wednesday.

Major carriers serving PDX, including Alaska Airlines, Southwest and Delta have reduced schedules and cancelled flights.

Alaska Airlines reduced its daily flights through PDX from 140 to 23, Southwest from 36 to 19, and Delta from 31 to 12.

On average, most flights coming and going from PDX have only 10-20% of their seats filled- compared to the normal 85%, explained port officials.

The massive decline in passengers has impacted concessions, parking and rental car fees.

Revenue at PDX was down more than 50% last month, explained Pippenger

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In March, the Port of Portland told employees they were expected to take unpaid leave for one day per month through 2021. The furloughs were expected to save the Port of Portland $5 million. Port officials also called for cost-saving measures including limited travel, a hiring freeze and reduced overtime.

“Pretty alarming, massive issues hitting the airline sector,” explained Port of Portland CCO Keith Leavitt.

The lone bright spot at PDX might be air cargo. Cathay Pacific Cargo has three flights a week between Portland and Hong Kong. Additionally, UPS, FedEx and Prime Air are handling increased air cargo, as consumers flock to e-commerce websites due to stay at home restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

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