• ITVI.USA
    15,494.200
    152.800
    1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.070
    0.290
    1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,447.770
    158.270
    1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,494.200
    152.800
    1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.070
    0.290
    1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,447.770
    158.270
    1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
Air CargoAmerican ShipperNewsParcel

Wildfires force Alaska Airlines to suspend some Oregon, Washington flights

Amazon, UPS, FedEx report minimal disruption, but service in fire zones put on hold

(Updated Sept. 15, 10:20 A.M. ET with information on FedEx)

Worsening smoke conditions prompted Alaska Airlines (NYSE: ALK to suspend all flights for 24 hours in Portland, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington, beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Otherwise, airline and parcel delivery networks have experienced limited disruption from the devastating wildfires that have impacted millions of people on the West Coast, according to airports and carriers operating in the region.

“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 said on its blog. 

Alaska Airlines, along with its regional carrier Horizon Air, has canceled dozens of flights in Portland and Spokane until at least 3 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Alaska and Horizon have also canceled flights at smaller airports due to fire and smoke. Those airports include 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, Alaska Air said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday issued a dense smoke advisory for visibility of one mile or less in the Portland area, which it warned posed hazardous driving conditions. 

At Portland International Airport (PDX), located less than 25 miles from the closest blaze, limited visibility led to several flight cancellations and the diversion of at least one cargo jet. 

Alaska Airlines canceled three flights on Sunday and 12 flights on Monday, according to the PDX website. Mexican airline Volaris has also canceled a flight scheduled for Tuesday. 

Delta Air Lines has so far canceled 55 flights, mostly to smaller airports in Oregon, operated by regional partners under the Delta Connection brand. No mainline aircraft were affected, a Delta spokesman said.

Parcel carriers

The only impact so far on UPS (NYSE: UPS) was the diversion of one flight from PDX, UPS Airlines spokesman Mike Mangeot said.

UPS is not making pickups and deliveries in 45 ZIP codes in California and Oregon where it is not safe to operate or where the fires have displaced businesses and homeowners.

“We will make every effort to resume service in those areas as soon as safety allows,” he said. “Customers with questions about their shipments can track them at UPS.com.”

In disaster situations, UPS typically holds onto shipments in areas where it will be able to quickly return, Mangeot said. In cases where permanent or lasting damage makes deliveries infeasible, packages are normally returned to the shipper.

The smoke has not materially impacted Amazon Air (NASDAQ: AMZN) operations, a spokesperson for the company said in an email.

“As for delivery stations, out of an abundance of caution we have closed some stations (and reopened when safe), and continue to closely monitor air quality to ensure the health and safety of our drivers and associates. None of the closures have had material impact to operations,” the Amazon official said.

Some FedEx delivery contractors are affected by evacuation orders, but the express parcel company has contingency plans in place to minimize impact on service, spokesman Jonathan Lyons said.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Amazon Air expands at unprecedented pace, report says

German logistics giants mount airfreight charter programs

Air cargo’s moon shot: Get COVID vaccine to world

Tags

Eric Kulisch, Air Cargo Editor

Eric is the Air Cargo Market Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at ekulisch@freightwaves.com
Close