This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 2, 2009 11:50 AM. The previous post in this blog was What exactly is going to be done to PGE Park?. The next post in this blog is 26 years of student loans. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Can PDX get by on one runway?

An alert reader writes:

PDX has been choked down to one runway for the last several weeks. Well, 1ΒΌ if you count the Dash-8s using the cross-wind runway to fly to Seattle every half hour.

Have there been any delays? Have airlines had to cut flights? The place doesn't look like it's all that choked. Maybe we can get away with just one.

What? Stop building unneeded stuff at the airport? Surely the reader jests. The third runway may be off the table for now, but come some full moon, it will rise from the grave. The West Hills construction Mafia gets powerfully hungry sometimes.

Comments (6)

There has surely been lots of wasteful spending at PDX. Repaving a runway, however, hardly falls into that category.

Having the South runway--which is the longest runway and necessary for wide body jet service to other continents--continue to operate is NOT wasteful spending. It's necessary preventative maintenance.

Countless new parking structures? Wasteful. A big glass roof for the passenger drop off area? Attractive, somewhat useful, but surely wasteful. A 10,000 foot plus runway in good condition for an airport with regular intercontinental flights? Necessary. Having decent air service for a medium sized city that wants to attract new businesses? Necessary.

Well, the west hills "mafia" may be involved with the buildings at the airport, but the runways are usually done by paving companies:


Wildish is from Eugene, and Kerr (I think)is from Woodburn.

Do they do streets? Maybe somebody could send their names to Transportation Sue. She apparently has very few pavers on her Rolodex.

Anon: Seriously.

I have been traveling a lot the past two years--cruising past 100k both years--and the airport is given consistently high marks by every traveler.

There may not be a need for a third runway, don't want to comment on that, but as a city dependent on tourism and import/export business, we have to have a good airport.

Relying on just one runway for a busy airport would be the worst kind of penny wise / pound foolish thinking.

Some time in April, my return flight to PDX was delayed by "weather" in Portland. It was supposed to be a 2-hr delay or something hideous. We ended up being only 45 mins late. And the weather in Portland was perfect on arrival...

Rumor had it that the airlines made up the "weather" excuse when the real reason was runway maintenance of some sort. Pretty pathetic...but I guess the airlines are held responsible for hotels if a passenger misses their flight due to airline error.

Who puts a passenger up at a hotel if the airport screws up at no fault of the airline?

Guys, I am an aviation buff and a professional aviation photog. I do a TON of photography @ PDX. Currently one runway ops is not effecting times out there do to the massive reduction in flights do to the economy. The heavies,airliners, commuters, and fighters leave on time with delays in the single digit timeframe. BUT if this happened 16 months ago they would be very very stretched to accomodate everyone at peak times.

Often times a runway will be closed for repair at night for scheduled maint. But sometimes unscheduled service is needed and they will be down to 1 active. This has even been the 8000' north runway, yes heavies can use it too its just the ones that are loaded to the extreme cannot under certain conditions. Often times the Lufthansa A340 sucks up all 11,000ft on the south runway on a hot day with no wind! Here is a shot showing about how bad it can get when the south runway is closed during peak times:

The closest the A340 has ever come to running off the end of the runway I have EVER or would EVER care to see again!

My daily aviation photography blog can be seen here, 95% shot at PDX:


Clicky Web Analytics