EAST WENATCHEE — Horizon Air has dropped some November flights in and out of Pangborn Memorial Airport, reportedly due to a shortage of pilots.
Flights originally slated for Tuesday and Wednesday arrivals and departures were canceled, and Airport Manager Trent Moyers said more flights could be canceled throughout the month. Moyers cited an Alaska/Horizon Air pilot shortage as a reason for the reduction.
“If they’re looking to try and bounce back from that, if you will, it is quite possible that it will pick back up again,” Moyers said. “But I know there are certain days that there’s flights in the middle of the afternoon that won’t operate.
A spokesperson for Horizon Airlines could not be reached to comment.
Moyers said he won’t know if the dropped flights will continue into December until he receives a schedule from Horizon.
He said the airline has no set day each month to send its flight schedule. Sometimes, Moyers finds the flight schedule in Horizon’s flight booking before it is sent to him.
“It’s entirely up to them as far as when they schedule it,” Moyers said. “We don’t have any say or sway as far as when flights occur. It’s up to them, and when they publish that, it’s also up to the airline.”
This uncertainty can create some logistical challenges. A firefighter is required to be stationed at the airport 15 minutes before a flight’s arrival and 15 minutes after departure.
“It does take a little bit of coordination to know what that schedule is going to be,” Moyers said.
The standard flights at Pangborn, such as an early morning arrival and an evening departure, have stayed relatively consistent over time. Changing the schedule of flights during the day is also straightforward since the airport is already staffed.
“It’s on the weekends when that can be something where it’s a little bit more challenging to schedule that. So, we got to make sure somebody’s covering and available for those flights.”
Horizon on Oct. 3 cut back its daily flights into and out of Pangborn from three to two. The third flight had been added in June. At the time, a Horizon spokesperson said the change was part of “part of standard seasonal operation changes.”
Moyers said those looking for information on their flight should check with Horizon. The airline will typically notify customers booked on impacted flights, Moyers said.