Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

U.S. House unanimously approves Greg Walden’s bill to bring commercial air service back to Klamath Falls

April 13, 2016
Press Release

U.S. House unanimously approves Greg Walden’s bill to bring commercial air service back to Klamath Falls

Click here or on the image below for video of Walden’s remarks

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) announced today that the Treating Small Airports with Fairness Act (“TSA Fairness Act”), a bill he authored to restore commercial air service to the Crater Lake-Klamath Falls Regional Airport by bringing back federal TSA screening at the airport, has unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The people of Klamath County deserve safe, reliable air service. That’s why unanimous approval of our plan is excellent news for Oregonians living in and around Klamath, our local economy and tourism, and the Oregon National Guard operating out of Kingsley Field,” said Walden. “The TSA Fairness Act will help make sure the TSA is not able to stonewall an agreement between the local community and a commercial air carrier who wants to resume flights at a small airport. I’m proud of the bipartisan support this bill has received in the House, and will continue to work with the Oregon delegation to get this across the finish line in the Senate. Let’s be safe and secure. Let’s be smart and prudent. Let’s pass this legislation and allow our communities to have the air service they need, and our country to have the security that we demand. This is common-sense legislation that needs to become law. Together we’re going to do the right thing even when the TSA will not.” 

Community leaders in Klamath have been working to restore commercial air service since carrier SkyWest left the Crater Lake-Klamath Airport in June 2014. Last fall, the City of Klamath Falls received a commitment from Alaska-based carrier PenAir to bring back commercial service with daily flights to Portland. However, the TSA has refused to put back in place screening services at the airport, despite repeated calls from the local community and from Oregon’s congressional delegation.

The TSA Fairness Act would require the TSA to restore screening services to any airport that lost service after January 1, 2013 and that has a guarantee from a commercial airline to resume service within one year. There are currently at least six airports nationwide that have commercial airlines seeking to resume flights after undergoing a temporary gap in service, but are being denied TSA security screening and personnel. Instead, the agency directed the airports to allow passengers to fly unscreened to their next destination, and undergo screening there.

Walden introduced the legislation along with Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio. The bill is also cosponsored by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced identical legislation in the U.S. Senate, and the Senate Commerce Committee has approved inclusion of the bill in aviation legislation pending in that body.