LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Is Alaska Airlines makeing a profit in Walla Walla?


I wish I knew more about the Alaska Airlines situation. Earlier reports in the U-B cited airline officials as saying that the Walla Walla market was not as profitable as others. More recent reports cite Port Authority conversations about the need to turn the Walla Walla market from an operating loss to an operating profit.

There is an enormous difference between a profitable operation, even one that is barely profitable, and one that operates at a loss. Which is it? Is it possible to get the numbers and make them public?

Let's assume, at least for now, that the airline officials are right; Walla Walla is a profitable market, just not profitable enough for them. What does even that mean? In every business there will be the most profitable and least profitable markets. That's just the way it works. At what point does Alaska want to shut down service to a particular market in order to ratchet up the bottom end of its operation to the next lowest level?

At what point does it factor in public ire and residual anger from customers and public thought and opinion leaders?

Is Alaska even interested in continuing to be both a regional carrier with national aspirations and a Horizon-type carrier operating a network of local short haul flights?

Inquiring minds want to know. Perhaps the U-B can look into it a little further.

Steven E. Woolley

Walla Walla


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