PORT ANGELES — Clint Ostler unveiled schedule and fares but has given up announcing the date for Dash Air Shuttle’s first commercial passenger flight out of William R. Fairchild International Airport, although the company’s president did tell the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce it would be “very soon.”
In April 2021, Dash Air announced plans to begin service that fall — a timeline that kept being pushed further and further back. In his January presentation to the chamber, Ostler said Dash Air hoped to inaugurate its flight schedule in the spring. Then that date was pushed to August.
“We’re super close, like super close,” Ostler said Wednesday. “We’re just making sure everything is buttoned up before we announce. My hope is we’re up to at least daily service by December.”
The plan is to start with two departures a day, four days a week, from Port Angeles to Seattle and two flights from Seattle to Port Angeles. On Mondays and Thursdays, it will fly in and out of Boeing Field and on Fridays and Sundays it will fly in and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It is considering adding Renton Municipal Airport as a destination and partnering with a second carrier to give it some flexibility in scheduling.
Ostler said it is important to clarify that Dash Air is not a carrier, but the marketing and ticket entity of Backcountry Aviation, based in Albany, Ore., which is the actual operator of the aircraft.
“As we grow and develop our platform, we intend to get our own operating certificate, and we would be a direct air carrier down the road,” Ostler said.
At present, Ostler said, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is limiting the number of flights Dash Air can offer. Upon DOT approval, it hopes to increase to six flights a day next summer. Between scheduled flights and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, when Dash Air is not operating scheduled service, charter flights to Seattle will be available.
One-way tickets range from restricted fares of $99-169 that have advance-purchase requirements to a $189 unrestricted fare. It also offers a DashTix Value coupon program geared toward households and a DashTix Plus coupon book aimed at businesses that are frequent travelers. First Fed and Olympic Medical Center have signed as Dash Air corporate partners.
Luggage on the small, nine-seat aircraft is free, but space is extremely limited, Ostler said. Each passenger will be allowed one checked bag (about the size of a full-size aircraft carry-on); one small bag checked at the gate and one small personal item like a purse or computer. There is no underseat or overhead storage.
Dash Air passengers will not arrive or depart directly from the main terminals at Boeing Field or SeaTac. Instead, a complimentary van will take them back and forth.
Many marking opportunities for businesses to promote themselves are available with Dash Air, Ostler said, from placing brochures in the plane’s seat pockets to a custom wrap on the van.
Ostler said that although Dash Air still is dealing with a complaint launched by Kenmore Air last year with the DOT, it is forging ahead with intrastate service (within Washington state). Kenmore Air, which suspended its service between Port Angeles and Boeing Field in 2014, claimed the startup was not licensed to operate interstate passenger service (between states).
If and when Dash Air does expand service outside Washington — to Portland, Ore., for example — it will have to change its name because the trademark for its wider use is held by Delta Air Lines’ Dash cargo service, Ostler said.
“We are working on a new name; we’ll have a couple of different options,” Ostler said.
Dash Air is down to a fleet of just one plane after the original purchase of four Cessna 402s — three for service and one for parts. Ostler said that among the things that keep him awake at night is what to do when Dash Air’s single plane is out of service. So, the company is in talks with a Bellingham company that can deliver an aircraft at a moment’s notice to either Port Angeles or Seattle.
“The next plan for us is, once we get up and going, we’re going to do another fundraising round so that we can actually start to work on acquiring a second aircraft,” Ostler said.
“Long term, we actually want to completely exit out of the 402 and go into a brand new aircraft. It’s the Tecnam Traveller, which is a nine-seat, twin engine aircraft.”
Flight schedule, pricing
Dash Air Shuttle, which has no date for beginning service as yet, plans scheduled flights on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Port Angeles (CLA) — Seattle
• 8:55 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
• 3:30 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.
Seattle — Port Angeles (CLA)
• 11:45 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
• 5:35 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.
Boeing Field (BFI): Monday, Thursday
SeaTac (SEA): Friday, Sunday
Pricing (each way, including taxes)
• Regular, restricted: $99-169
• Regular, unrestricted: $189
• DashTix Value (20 coupons): $99
• DashTix Plus (24 coupons): $149
• Corporate Partner, unrestricted: $139