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PDX air travel down 90% amid coronavirus outbreak

This week, the Port of Portland said forecasts suggest between 3,000 and 5,000 flyers each day.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The number of travelers flying through Portland International Airport has fallen 90% during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Port of Portland, which runs PDX.

The port said more than 51,000 travelers passed through PDX on average each day in March 2019. This week, the port said forecasts suggest between 3,000 and 5,000 flyers each day.

Alaska Airlines, the Portland airport’s busiest carrier, said Wednesday that it will reduce flights by up to 70% in April and May as it adjusts to plummeting demand for air travel. Alaska said it is facing severe financial pressure for the foreseeable future.

The port said its marine terminals continue operating and, with the exception of automotive cargo, “are experiencing normal export numbers” despite the outbreak.

The decline in air travel is one more symptom of the sudden economic catastrophe battering Oregon and the rest of the nation during the outbreak. New Oregon jobless claims jumped nearly 1,500% last week as bars, restaurants and many other businesses shut down.

Economists warn of a “severe recession” – but say the state could bounce back quickly if the extreme measures being used to combat the pandemic are able to quickly contain the virus.

-- Mike Rogoway | mrogoway@oregonian.com | Twitter: @rogoway

This article was originally published by The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving heath issue. 

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