WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Director of Airports Trent Moyers testified before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation during a hearing to highlight the importance of commercial air service to residents and businesses across the Wenatchee Valley.
Moyers testified at the invitation of Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who chairs the Committee. The Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and air transportation, held yesterday’s hearing to discuss ways to enhance consumer protection and connectivity in air transportation.
In his appearance before the Committee, Moyers detailed how the loss of air service since the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic has impacted the ability of Wenatchee residents to reach their destinations across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
“Today, service in Wenatchee and many small airports has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, largely due to a lack of airline capacity,” Moyers said. “The number of daily flights to our airport has gone from four in recent years down to one. The post-pandemic recovery of air service continues to be challenging in Wenatchee, but we know we're not alone.”
“In the Wenatchee Valley, 850 people drive, every day, to an airport other than Pangborn because connectivity from Wenatchee is limited. A single flight per day to Seattle means only 76 people can directly access air transportation to or from Wenatchee, without spending three hours driving.”
In her opening remarks at the hearing, Sen. Cantwell also highlighted the economic benefits of commercial air service to Wenatchee:
“Next to the airport, Microsoft is building a 41,000-square-foot data center that will employ 50 full-time employees,” Sen. Cantwell said. “This a $400 million investment that would not be possible without the airport connection to the larger Washington economy. So we have to have our communities like Wenatchee thrive. And for Wenatchee to thrive, they need good air transportation connectivity.”
Moyers highlighted steps Congress could take to support air service to small and rural communities, including providing greater flexibility for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Program and increasing the share of funding the federal government contributes to airport infrastructure improvement projects.
Video of Mr. Moyers’ opening testimony is available here and a transcript is available here. A transcript and video of Mr. Moyers’ Q&A with Sen. Cantwell is available here.
Pangborn Memorial Airport is owned and operated by the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority. To learn more about current economic development projects taking place within the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority, please visit: www.cdrpa.org.