The proposed and much anticipated Pasco-to-Los Angeles flight first announced in 2015 hasn’t taken off yet.
But local officials haven’t given up hope.
“At this point we’re in a holding pattern,” said Carl Adrian, president and CEO of TRIDEC, with no pun intended.
Adrian said the Tri-Cities is ready, but it’s just a matter of finding an airline willing to step up.
“We’ve just got to find the right match,” he said.
Randy Hayden, the Port of Pasco’s executive director, said adding a new route for an airline can be a challenge.
“The reason (airlines) give us (for not doing it yet) is aircraft availability,” Hayden said. “Pilot availability is another issue. And finding gates at LAX.”
In markets the size of the Tri-Cities, there is an industry shortage of pilots and aircraft dedicated to a new route. In addition, LAX is having a tough time finding a gate for the route.
Changing regulations for pilots aren’t helping, either.
“You used to be able to fly 12 hours as a pilot,” Adrian said. “Now it’s eight. Plus, the pilot work force is getting older.”
But Hayden said the market exists, with an estimated 150 people a day heading to LA from Pasco.