Western Airlines (2007)
|Commenced operations||January 18, 2007|
|Ceased operations||February 7, 2007|
|Hubs||Bellingham International Airport|
|Fleet size||1 (at time of demise)|
|Destinations||4 (at time of demise)|
|Company slogan||Still the only way to fly|
|Key people||Jerry Welch (President)
Curt Tronsdal (Chairman)
Officials of the Port of Bellingham had set the goal in 2004 of obtaining additional passenger service for Bellingham International Airport to destinations other that Seattle. In late 2005, the Port announced that it had entered into a lease with Western, a startup airline founded by two local businessmen with aviation experience.
On November 16, 2006, Western announced that they would begin flights in January from Bellingham International Airport to four vacation destinations; the fourth announced destination of Reno, Nevada was cancelled before the airline began service. Service began on January 18, 2007, with a flight from Bellingham to Ontario, California. Western operated as a "scheduled charter" service, with aircraft wet leased from Xtra Airways and was working through the process of gaining FAA approval as a commercial airline.
On February 7, 2007, Western suspended further operations due to outstanding debts to suppliers including Xtra Airways and the fuel vendor in Bellingham. Xtra Airways continued to return Western's passengers to their originating airport. Xtra Airways officials stated that flights have had to stop in Seattle, Washington to take on fuel, though a Western spokesperson claimed that only one flight has had to stop, and that was due to a higher than expected fuel burn on the flight to Bellingham.
Western officials traced the problem to difficulties with credit card payments. The company had been running into problems obtaining a merchant identification number, which was needed before banks would deposit money into the airline's account. The airline stated it was working out an arrangement with PayPal, which would allow credit card payments to be processed and sent to the airline without a merchant identification number. The airline expected to resume flights once the problem was resolved.
Western flew to four destinations in the United States:
At the time of Western's demise on February 7, 2007, the airline had 1 aircraft in its fleet consisting of:
||Medium Haul||wet lease from Xtra Airways|
- Jensen, J.J. (2006-01-01). "Waterfront, airport drew much of Port's focus in 2005. (Port of Bellingham)". The Bellingham Business Journal. Copy available here from HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- Gallagher, Dave (2005-12-08). "Regional Airline Starting Up at Bellingham, Wash., Airport". The Bellingham Herald. . Copy available here.
- Stark, John (2007-02-07). "New airline short of cash, cancels flight". The Bellingham Herald. Retrieved 2007-02-07.[dead link].
- Hensley, JJ (2007-02-07). "Western Airlines shuts down flights". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- Stark, John (2007-02-08). "Airline aims to fly again". The Bellingham Herald. Retrieved 2007-02-08.[dead link]
- Thomason, Art (2007-01-19). "Western Airlines flies to Bellingham". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-04-25.