Wyden, Merkley: DOT Selects Boutique Air to Continue Providing Essential Air Service at Pendleton Airport

Contract funds 21 nonstop round trips to/from PDX per week through May 2026

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has selected Boutique Air to continue providing Essential Air Service between Pendleton and Portland with 21 nonstop round trips a week between the two cities.  

“Regular air service is critical for rural communities to give local businesses the opportunity to tap into national and international economies, and provide a vital connection for Eastern Oregonians to travel and to have access to necessary medical treatments in a timely way,” Wyden said. “Anything that supports healthy economies and the health of Oregonians adds up to a big win in my book.”

“Whether flying for recreation or business, rural Oregonians need safe and reliable air service options in their communities,” said Merkley. “This federal investment will continue to ensure the critical connection from Pendleton to Portland remains and support the needs of our rural communities, including expanding health care access and growing local tourism and the economy.” 

The Essential Air Service program provides federal funding to ensure  small communities continue to receive scheduled air service, usually to a large- or medium-hub airport. The contract with Boutique Air will include 21 nonstop round trips per week from Pendleton to Portland International Airport , using 8- or 9-seat aircraft through May 31, 2026. Essential Air Service currently subsidizes air service to about 60 communities in Alaska and 115 communities in the lower 48 contiguous states that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.

“We appreciate the years of support we have received from Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for the Essential Service Program,” said Eastern Oregon Regional Airport Manager, Dan Bandel. “We are the only EAS airport in Oregon, and we know the support from our federal delegation is paramount to keeping this critical service.  We look forward to many more years of fruitful partnership with the Senators and with Boutique Air.”