Issues with Yakima Air Service Discussed Openly - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Issues with Yakima Air Service Discussed Openly

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- A roomful of people got together to say they're fed up with Yakima's flight service and they want change.

Participants asked big questions during Tuesday's open discussion of the Yakima Airport, but one particular concern got everybody thinking. How do we keep the estimated 100,000 people a year from driving to Pasco to catch a flight?

"We went down there and flew out of Pasco to go to Las Vegas and they have a straight flight from there, and it hardly cost us anything," said Steve Berreman, who lives in Selah.

"They pointed out at the meeting there is some long gaps between the flights because you only have three flights a day so they want a more convenient schedule as well," said Bruce Wetsel, the Vice President and Managing Partner of Airplanners.

Wetsel said adding another commercial airline and more flight services are definitely on the agenda. But advertising flights and deals out of Yakima could start right now.

"When you're talking to your customer that's coming into town, tell them to fly into Yakima, tell them to take Horizon Airlines," said Wetsel.

"If they would advertise a low cost flight out of Yakima, you'd get more people interested," said Berreman.

Some people at the meeting said they'd like to see the airport expand, but they also want to bring back a smaller operation.

"They're talking a lot about the airlines coming in and all the support for them, but when they started kicking out the general aviation people, the airport just went down," said Berreman.

Wetsel said general aviation is not of their primary focuses, but they've found that when you increase commercial flights, general aviation tends to improve as well.

The Vice President of Airplanners said they'll send out a survey to get people's thoughts on adding more commercial flights and destination spots. Once the results are in, they'll develop a plan of action.