Downtown business development troubles, and Southwest ends flights to Portland

NEWS – Development – How young developer Rob Brewster’s early runaway success sputtered in Spokane.

Notes that hardly any Spokane businesses are growing “robustly”.

Elsewhere today, Southwest Airlines announced discontinuance of non-stop service from Spokane to Portland.

They previously discontinued service to Seattle and dropped a flight to Boise. Alaska Air will add two flights to Portland, presumably on turbo props. The majority of flights to/from Spokane are on turbo prop aircraft, not jets. The Alaska Air turbo props carry about half as many passengers as the jets that Southwest will no longer fly.

Spokane “International” Airport is becoming dominated by Alaska Airlines – less competition means higher prices likely in the future.

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines is raising fares from the price now charged by the competition of about $70, one-way, to $108 one-way, according to the fare calculators of both Alaska and Southwest as looked up on 8/30/2012. Southwest has no baggage fee while Alaska Air charges a fee of $20 per bag per direction of flight. If you are adding up the numbers, before adding Federal and facility charge fees, the one-way flight cost went from $70 to up to $108+$20 or $128.

This certainly enhances Spokane as a great place to locate a business, doesn’t it? NOT.  Spokane “International” Airport, based on the news stories, does not think a doubling of air fares to Portland is a problem.

Hey, anyone care about this? Guess not. And what about the million $ bribe to restore air service to Spokane? Seems to have vanished – into thin air!

For reporters who no longer have the resources to report on the actual news here’s the screen snapshots as this would be the rest of the story:

Southwest Before Service Discontinued

Alaska Airlines Before Southwest Discontinues Service

Alaska Airlines AFTER Southwest Discontinues Service

Here is more detail on this Spokane story:

He added that the number of passengers just going to Portland from Spokane is declining.

Transportation Department data show that the total number of passengers flying between Spokane and Portland dropped 5 percent from 2009 to 2011.

Those numbers reflect both Southwest and Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air flights, the two carriers serving Portland and Spokane.

According to this story, Alaska will add only one daily new flight, not two. Elimination of the Southwest service to Portland is expected to be a permanent change.

Remember, the airport is a proxy for the local economy – that’s what the airport officials said themselves when Spokane had a growing economy:

“Plus it’s also the strength of the Spokane area economy. That is one of the main considerations” anytime overall air traffic increases, he added.

The long term, steady decline in air traffic today has been blamed on the national economy, the weather, and everything except Spokane’s economy. Remember, everything in Spokane is perfect, we do not need to envision a better Spokane!

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