PENDLETON - Air travelers using the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton could see a schedule change in February.

Horizon Airlines has proposed changing Pendleton's routes to fly into Seattle via Walla Walla instead of to Portland through Pasco as they do currently.

Airport Manager Larry Dalrymple called the proposed changes an improvement over the current schedule.

"We have been crying out because of the current schedule," he said. "We've lost 25-30 percent of our passenger count since 9-11, and it isn't because of fear of flying. It is because of scheduling."

Changing the route to go through Walla Walla would also help, he said. People often either went to Pasco for their flights or the flight through Pasco was sold out before Pendleton had an opportunity.

For travelers just flying to Portland, there would not be much improvement in time, Dalrymple said.

"They are still getting in (about the same time) but all of the rest of the passengers will see vastly improved schedule out of Seattle," he said.

The proposed flight times are:

•Departing Pendleton 6:20 a.m. - arrive Seattle 8:04 a.m.

•Arrive Pendleton 11:30 a.m.

•Depart Pendleton 11:45 a.m. - arrive Seattle 12:51 p.m.

•Arrive Pendleton 4:10 p.m.

•Depart Pendleton 4:25 p.m. - arrive Seattle 6:07 p.m.

•Arrive Pendleton 10:10 p.m.

The majority of people flying out of Pendleton did not stop in Portland, Dalrymple said, but went on to other destinations. Going through Seattle would offer more options.

It would also mean that people could fly into Portland for a business day and return that evening, even with having to change planes, he said.

On Saturdays, the late flight would be eliminated, as well the early flight on Sundays, but that would happen even without changing the flight routes, he said.

The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport Commission will hold a public meeting on the proposed changes at 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Council Chambers.

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