Wildfire update: Alaska to resume operations in Portland and Spokane this afternoon

Updated Sept. 15 at 1:30 pm PT

Alaska’s operations in Portland and Spokane are scheduled to resume at 3 p.m. Pacific time today. Horizon is also resuming its operations at both airports, but at a reduced capacity.

The 24-hour suspension of flights allowed us time to implement a new safety protocol that directs our employees to work a reduced number of hours outside when there’s poor air quality. Thick smoke is covering the Pacific Northwest due to massive wildfires across Oregon and Washington.

Our employees’ exposure over the course of their shifts will be limited to keep their air intake below unhealthy levels. To help keep them safe, they will have access to personal protective equipment, such as N95 masks.

Operations and safety teams from Alaska and Horizon met with medical professionals from the University of Washington to develop this framework for employee safety. These experts included our medical directors, as well as occupational physicians and pulmonary specialists.

The safety framework will also be used by our employees at any airport where there’s poor air quality due to heavy smoke, which includes Eugene, Medford and Redmond/Bend in Oregon, and Pasco and Walla Walla in Washington.

Posted Sept. 14 at 5 pm PT

Alaska Airlines began the temporary suspension of all flights to and from airports in Portland and Spokane starting at 3 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Sept. 14, as the Pacific Northwest continues to battle intense wildfires and hazardous air quality. The flight suspensions are expected to last until 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Across the West, fires are creating thick smoke and haze, causing very poor air quality conditions in the Portland and Spokane areas. We made the difficult decision to stop our operation so that our employees and guests can remain safe.

Alaska Airlines, along with its regional carrier Horizon Air, has canceled dozens of flights in Portland and Spokane for that 24-hour period.

Alaska and Horizon have also canceled flights at smaller airports due to fire and smoke including Eugene, Medford and Redmond/Bend in Oregon, and Pasco and Walla Walla in Washington.

Improving weather conditions in the coming days could begin to dissipate smoke in Portland and Spokane. However, other airports in the West could be impacted by drifting smoke.

Flexible travel options

Due to the smoke and unhealthy air quality in the Pacific Northwest region, our guests can change or cancel flights under our  Peace of Mind waiver. Guests can easily manage their reservation online or call reservations at 1-800-252-7522 for assistance.

As always, we advise those traveling to check their flight status before departure.