Yakima County, businesses raise funds to get more flights to Seattle

Jul 10, 2023, 1:33 PM

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(Photo from Flickr @GriffenAaron)

(Photo from Flickr @GriffenAaron)

Some businesses in Yakima County are so eager for more air service, they are contributing to the fund needed to get Alaska Airlines to add flights.

Alaska is looking to provide more scheduled air service between Yakima and Seattle. But first, they need to come up with an air-service agreement to provide that service.

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The community was so on board with the plan that some businesses in Yakima Valley are writing checks to help local governments raise the $500,000 needed to add more airplane service to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Alaska Airlines is requiring the contingency fund to help cover the costs and potential losses of reestablishing two round-trip flights between Yakima and Sea-Tac this fall. The minimum revenue guarantee the airline is asking for is guaranteed not to exceed $500,000, and the deal will be administered by the Yakima County Development Association.

Alaska Airlines said they will only tap into the fund if ticket and cargo fees aren’t enough to cover its startup and flight costs.

Yakima City Manager Bob Harrison lists some of those donors, including Central Washington State Fair and Yakima Valley Tourism. A number of large farming businesses have also contributed, saying the flights are important for their businesses, including freight shipments.

The bulk of the money needed is coming from local governments’ pandemic relief money.

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Yakima City Manager Bob Harrison said they have nearly $400,000 now.

The airports in Wenatchee and Walla Walla have already added service through similar revenue guarantee agreements with Alaska.

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Yakima County, businesses raise funds to get more flights to Seattle