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United States : SEAPORT AIRLINES moves to the main terminal.

SeaPort Airlines had planned to move on Saturday, Sept 01 from the business aviation area at Portland International Airport to the main terminal.

The Portland-based airlines that specially operates flights to small, under-served markets said the move is a predecessor to another major step in its evolution: enabling its passengers to seamlessly link with major airlines.

In a news release on Thursday, Aug 30, SeaPort President Rob McKinney said his firm will soon announce a new "interline agreement" to let customers at most of its destinations to use SeaPort service as a connector to end-points served by major airlines without having to re-check baggage and buy separate tickets.

SeaPort launched in 2008 promoting itself as a solution for business travelers moving between Portland and Seattle which, at the outset, was its only itinerary. But it has since grown not only to small communities in the Northwest and parts of the Southwest and Midwest, but also to a handful of major cities with airports served by leading carriers like Dallas, Nashville and Kansas City.

Speaking to the media, McKinney said : "Our move the main terminal at Portland is among the most significant changes in the evolution of SeaPort Airlines over the past year, and which now has us highly-focused on providing air service that links small communities across America with the national air transportation via large airports".

SeaPort's earlier site outside of PDX's main terminal gates was initially pitched as an advantage, letting business travelers to board flights without having to go through the often time-consuming Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

But that also meant it couldn't easy lconnect with major carriers. Passengers seeking to use SeaPort as a connecting flight to other end-points would have to buy additional tickets and check-in separately. Baggage also couldn't be easily moved between carriers.

McKinney added :"Being a partner with the other major airlines is more advantageous for us than being a niche competitor".

Though SeaPort stopped serving its namesake Seattle-to-Portland route in February, in the last few years it has increased service within the region to include Pendleton, Wenatchee and Yakima. And outside the Northwest, it is also serving Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee.

At PDX, the SeaPort ticket counter exists at the center of the main terminal, between United Airlines and American Airlines. Its flights will temporarily depart from a site on the B concourse before moving to a permanent home on E concourse after work to replace concrete on the airport ramp.

Passengers moving to or from Pendleton won't immediately see the benefits of SeaPort's pending interline agreement.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 3, 2012
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