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SeaPort Airlines Permanently Ceases Operations

The tiny Portland-based commuter airline announced on Facebook that it would be shuttering the struggling business as of Tuesday.

SeaPort, a small commuter airline that struggled to fill a very specific niche market, announced on Tuesday that the company would abandon attempts to reorganize and instead apply for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The move will open the eight-year-old airline’s assets, including its small fleet of Cessna 208 Grand Caravan aircraft, to liquidation. The Portland, OR-based carrier entered into Chapter 11 reorganization in February, but according to a statement from SeaPort President Tim Sieber, the airline failed to regain the financial stability required to continue daily operations.

“This is a very sad day for our employees, shareholders, and the communities we serve,” Sieber wrote in a statement on the airline’s website. “I would like [to] extend my heartfelt appreciation to the employee team that I have been honored to lead and who delivered industry leading operational performance. While we made great strides, a successful financial reorganization did appear possible and we were forced to make the difficult decision to cease operations.”

The announcement came as something of a surprise to passengers and employees alike. As recently as a week ago, the airline posted an optimistic message thanking employees for helping to meet its goals during the reorganization. “Shout-out today to recognize the SeaPort Team for their continuous dedication and hard work in delivering on our core promise of getting customers to their destination safely and reliably, one flight at a time,” company officials wrote on September 15. “Keep up the good work, everyone!” The message included the hashtags, #shoutout #employeelove and #teamseaport.

SeaPort Airlines took its name from its original mission of ferrying passengers between Portland International Airport (PDX) and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The airline eventually abandoned that namesake route and instead turned its focus to providing service from larger airports such as George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to smaller regional airports including South Arkansas Regional At Goodwin Field (ELD).

In some cases, the now-defunct carrier was the only airline offering regularly scheduled flights between the airports it served. In a notice to customers who have already booked tickets on now-cancelled SeaPort flights, the company said that passengers should contact their credit card companies directly to attempt to have those charges refunded.

[Photo: The Desert Review]

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