WARRENTON - Air service is leaving Clatsop County.

SeaPort Airlines announced that scheduled flight operations between Astoria and Portland will cease March 13.

In 2008, the Port of Astoria received a state grant to subsidize air service in Clatsop County. The money was set to run out this month with the hopes that the service would be well off the ground and running on its own steam.

But instead, during the last two years, the airline faced consistently low passenger loads and a poor economy.

"We deeply regret this decision, and the impact this will have on SeaPort employees and their families, our customers, our vendors and other partners, and the communities in which they have been operating," said SeaPort Airlines President Rob McKinney and Jack Crider, Port of Astoria executive director, in a joint statement Tuesday afternoon.

"It's been our pleasure and privilege to serve Oregon's North Coast communities," McKinney said.

The Port of Astoria spent the last six weeks promoting air service in Clatsop County in an attempt to keep the airline here through the end of the year. The port and SeaPort designed a pre-paid voucher program.

Each packet contained 10 one-way tickets and cost $600. The tickets were redeemable between March 15 and Dec.31. To keep air service in the county, the port would have had to sell close to 500 voucher packets: 5,000 tickets.

The port was only able to sell about 100 packets, Crider said.

"We've got them coming in still. There was a bit of a last rush at the end," he said. "But we were still way short."

The port will refund 100 percent of all voucher sales.

Passengers with confirmed (non-voucher related) reservations after March 12 should contact SeaPort airlines directly.

• For more on this story, read Wednesday's edition of The Daily Astorian


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