Rural Airport

Rural Air Service in Oregon: Innovating a New Model




ORAVI has been heavily involved for 5 years in exploring ways to make air service available to rural communities of Oregon.  First, ORAVI wrote, submitted, testified and lobbied to gain passage of HB2075 which provides the first state funding source ever established to promote rural air service (25% of the funds raised go to that purpose).  Then we formed a rural air service committee and held several aviation summits and meetings; addressing the past, present, and future of rural air service. 

After 5 years of studying the rural air issue, and with the background from the details below, ORAVI submitted a grant request to establish an on-demand rural air service statewide in Oregon.  The system would utilize FAA Part 135 aircraft, subsidized on a per-seat-flown basis from HB2075 rural air funds.  This service would provide affordable air service to all public use airports in Oregon and assist in mitigating the Urban | Rural divide by connecting citizens of rural communities with our metro regions.  

It is a sobering reality that under the current economic models, there is national / international air service currently to/from only 4 major airports in Oregon (Portland, Eugene, Redmond, Medford). And, only 2 commuter airports that serve Portland (Pendleton, North Bend)  The rest of our rural and frontier communities ae unseved.

But what about Newport, John Day, La Grande, Klamath Falls, Burns, Tillamook, Astoria, Baker City our capital in Salem and many other of the 97 public use airports in Oregon?

Traditional road based travel modes have been “disrupted” such as seen by Uber and Lyft.  Driverless autonomous cars are next, with the planning under way nationally and in Oregon.  What about air travel?  The future is electric aircraft, but services are already available today by companies such as that have already implemented "on-demand" air service with existing GA aircraft in other states using Uber type apps.

ORAVI asks: “What is the next disruptive model for air services to rural areas?”  The attached two papers propose a NEW MODEL for rural aviation that can provide a more flexible and sustainable approach. 

We propose that the State of Oregon promote an innovative approach that truly serves the more remote areas of the state, and links rural and urban together for mutual benefits as never possible before.  HB2075  bill provides for $5million over six years to assist with rural air service.  How can these funds be best used to serve truly rural communities in Oregon?

The following ideas have been developed by the ORAVI rural air committee and we encourage you to review them and make comments as we continue to expand the pool of expertise needed to reach workable rural air solutions.  Thank you.

Whitepaper - Rural Air Overview & Options   12/1/2016 Updated 01/01/2019

Strawman - Rural Air Oregon dynamic scheduling   12/1/2016 Updated 12/10/2016

Email comments to
Jake Jacobs
ORAVI Executive Director

HB2075 also provides funds for FAA grant matches, airport infrastructure, safety, emergency preparedness and economic development.