BEND, Ore. - Economic Development for Central Oregon announced late Friday afternoon that they have met Friday's $350,000 goal for pledges for the Airline Travel Bank, just hours before the deadline set by American Airlines.
Thus far, $81,000 has been collected in checks and other payments. The pledge initiative is a key element in establishing direct service between Redmond Airport (DM) and Los Angeles Airport (LAX) by American Airlines.
"This is great news," said Roger Lee, executive director of EDCO. "It demonstrates to American Airlines that Central Oregon as a region is highly supportive of the proposed service, especially given the small window to make it happen."
Lee went on to say that commitments on the final day of the initiative pushed past the $350,000 goal, in part because of a late groundswell of grassroots outreach and press coverage.
"I can't express how proud we are of how the Central Oregon region — our residents, businesses, cities, counties, chambers of commerce, and visitors' associations — responded to this opportunity," said Lee. "The response should give American great confidence in the use of this flight, if launched."
In terms of the process to finalize the American Airlines service, Lee noted that the next course of action for EDCO is to contact all those who made a pledge and collect payments, either by credit card or check. Payments must be received by Friday, March 22nd.
Service between RDM and LAX could start as soon as early summer on a 50-seat commercial "regional jet" operated by SkyWest. The daily flight is proposed to leave RDM in the morning and return from LAX in the evening.
IIf Central Oregon's support package is accepted, American will make any announcements that include exact timing of flights.
For those delivering checks:
EDCO's Bend office is located at 705 SW Bonnett Way, Suite #1000, Bend Oregon, 97702. The closest intersection to the office is Columbia and Colorado (the former site of Robby J's Bistro).
About Economic Development for Central Oregon
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a private non-profit corporation founded over 30 years ago and dedicated to building a vibrant and thriving regional economy by attracting new investment and traded-sector jobs (manufacturing, professional, headquarters and high technology businesses) through marketing, recruitment and substantive assistance to existing companies. Learn more about EDCO at www.edcoinfo.com.