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With RDM about to close, Bend Airport ramps up


With the Redmond Airport closure only four days away, officials at the Bend Municipal Airport are getting ready for a higher traffic volume.

“All of our tie-downs are full,” Bend Municipal Airport Manager Gary Judd said Thursday. “All of our hangars are full.”

Officials at the airport east of Bend said Thursday they are expecting a 5 to 10 percent increase in traffic due to the three-week closure to the north.

Judd said they’re not planning on hiring more staff for the 20-day period, but expect it to be a lot busier on the tarmac. The biggest differences with RDM is that there is no control tower and no TSA checkpoints.

“They’re going to shift UPS and FedEx operations down here,” Judd said. “Les Schwab corporate aircraft are moving down. We’ve got a considerable number of private aircraft that are moving down here.”

No commercial airlines can land at the Bend airport.

Private air charters like Private Air and Business Air are already benefiting from the RDM’s closure. They have had more business travelers schedule a flight than in previous months.

“We’re getting calls every day,” said Professional Air President Gwil Evans. “Business Air has about a half a dozen flights lined up.”

Charter flights are charged by the hour. Evans said Business Air charges $2,000 per hour for a plane that can accommodate nine people.

Officials are buckling up.

“It’s going to be chaos,” Evans said. “It usually is. But we just hope to organize the chaos.”

When it comes to air traffic, Judd said the Bend airport is the third busiest airport in the state after Portland and Hillsboro.

“We’ll be glad when the Redmond airport reopens,” Judd said.

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