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Yakima Airport Is Key To Yakima’s Economic Future

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Yakima City Manager Tony O’Rourke presented several ideas at a joint study session Tuesday, to improve the Yakima airport, which he called “under-performing” and “deficit-driven.” He says it’s the key to Yakima’s economic future.

Getting more airlines to set up shop at Yakima’s airport has been a struggle.  Delta Airlines pulled out several years ago. Many people drive to the Tri-Cities or to Seattle for a flight.  O’Rourke proposes the county and city hire a consultant to determine how Yakima should approach expanding air service. He also recommends creating an alliance among local governments and the private sector. Each member would put up money to underwrite air service to Yakima. It would help an airline when local passengers don’t fill up the flights.  The airport board of directors also presented an update on the airport’s “master plan.”

It explores ideas like expanding the runway and renovating the terminal. The number of passengers using Yakima’s airport is expected to grow by almost 100,000 over the next 20 years.
O’Rourke said big changes are needed at the airport in order to reach that number.
Both the county and city agreed that it’s best to get the airport’s master plan in place before fully moving forward with other proposals. The airport board expects to have a plan ready to vote by the end of the year.

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