Alaska Airlines Boeing-737. Photo: Alaska Airlines.

MIAMI – Alaska Airlines (AS) has suspended its flights to/from various US northwest cities as wildfires smother Portland and Washington. The flight suspension would be effective until 3 pm this Tuesday. However, flights are still being canceled, with 74 today and counting.

Alaska Airlines has stopped all operations in the Portland and Spokane areas. It also suspended some flights in and out of Eugene, Medford, Redmond, Pasco, and Walla Walla. In the statement, the airline said that the fires cause very poor air quality conditions.

Consequently, AS made the decision to keep employees and guests safe. Additionally, as part of the Alaska Air Group, Horizon Air (QX) has also halted today’s scheduled frequencies for the same regions.

Alaska Airlines plane at PDX. Photo: Tony Webster.

Major Area Impact

The flight suspensions affect Portland International Airport (PDX) the most, AS being a major airline serving PDX.

Apart from today’s flight cancelations, AS operations had severely diminished during the year due to the pandemic. Still, Port of Portland, the airport operator, said that no other airline has taken a measure of this magnitude but conceded that the situation was a health and safety crisis.

On its part, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality rated the air as unhealthy until Thursday. The situation, therefore, remains at hazardous levels with an air quality index that topped 500 by Monday.

In the coming days, AS expects that the improved weather conditions could begin to dissipate the smoke in Portland and Spokane areas. It did state, however, that other airports in the West could be impacted by drifting smoke.

Airways will continue to report on this developing story.

Featured photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing-737. Photo: Alaska Airlines.