With 3.8 million visitors annually and a rapidly growing population and business environment, there was significant strain on air transportation in the region, with the market suffering from passenger diversion to Portland. After Alaska Airlines pulled nonstop Los Angeles service in 2010, Central Oregon was left with a serious air service deficiency to southern California.
Mead & Hunt filed a 2012 Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grant application on behalf of the Central Oregon community. The successful grant supported a comprehensive incentive program, including a revenue guarantee, Airline Travel Bank®, marketing program and fee waivers for service to Los Angeles. Following grant award, market and route analyses, multiple airline headquarters and industry conference meetings, and airline negotiations were completed.
The result of these efforts was American Airlines daily nonstop service to Los Angeles. Since then, continued efforts with existing carriers has resulted in additional nonstop service to Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, by Alaska Airlines.