(Redmond Airport | Photo by Cascade Business News)
The Redmond Municipal Airport, or Roberts Field, serves all of Central Oregon and its surrounds, and is once again a hub of activity, particularly with the holiday season now upon us. The past year has brought the business of flying back in a big way, and 2021 saw the return of new additions to our local airport.
Roberts Field, located two miles southeast of downtown Redmond and 15 miles north of Bend, is owned and operated by the City of Redmond, and is the fourth-largest commercial-service airport in Oregon. Redmond Mayor George Endicott says the airport continues to be one of the big focal points for city officials. “We are going after federal dollars to double or triple the terminal, and to add jetways so we don’t have to walk in the snow to get to the planes,” he says.
As the region grows, new routes are being added to the flight roster regularly, with Avelo Airlines joining in last spring, offering direct service to Burbank, California. “We are pleased that Avelo Airlines selected RDM, expanding our direct-destination offerings,” says Endicott. “The investments we have made in the airport and it’s dedicated management team are key in attracting new air carriers like Avelo.”
Commercial service is provided by seven air carriers at Roberts Field, including Aha!, Allegiant, American, Alaska, Avelo, Delta and United, with non-stop flights to Burbank, Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Reno, San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle. There are approximately 30 daily commercial flights out of Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM), and air cargo and general aviation services are also offered. RDM is home to The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, Leading Edge Jet Center, Hillsboro Aero Academy, Redmond Air Center and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.
Inside the terminal, there are six full-service car rental agencies, and Avalon Aeropub has freshly made food, beverages and regional microbrews available for travelers. The public area of the terminal is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and arriving and departing passengers can stay in those areas to facilitate their travel needs regardless of time of day.
Dubbed on the Redmond Airport website as “The Aviation Gateway to Central Oregon,” Roberts Field got its start in the 1920s, when J. Roy Roberts promoted the efforts of other early-day Redmond and area aviation enthusiasts to build and develop an airport. The website further chronicles the airport’s history as follows: In 1940, Oregon Airways initiated the first passenger service; in 1942, the City of Redmond leased Roberts Field to the government to construct a bomber base; and in 1946, the airport was sold back to the City of Redmond for $1. In 1950, the first passenger terminal was built on the north side of the field, totaling 3,400 square feet; and in 1950, United Airlines and Tilse-Bowman Air Service started passenger service. After 1950, expansion continued over the decades, and in 1981, a new terminal was constructed at the current site totaling 8,000 square feet. In 1992-1993, the terminal was expanded to 23,000 square feet; and in 2010, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the newly expanded 140,000-square-foot building. In 2016, Primary Runway 5-23 was reconstructed; and in 2018, Secondary Runway 11-29 was reconstructed. Then in 2019, the RDM Apron (Tarmac) underwent construction to add more aircraft parking. Throughout the years, additional airlines came onboard as the facility grew, adding many flights to the burgeoning airport.
In 2021, the Redmond Airport has continued to grow, with the following notable additions:
- Aha!/ExpressJet Airlines Launched Flights to Reno — On November 5, Aha!/ExpressJet Airlines (flyaha.com) launched nonstop flights between RDM and Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Celebrate Oregon! Mural Unveiled — The Celebrate Oregon! Mural was unveiled at the airport on October 15 and is a vibrant tapestry of Oregon geography. Woven into the mural are 127 symbols representing different aspects of the state’s collective arts, heritage, history and cultural practices.
- Vaccine Pop-up Clinic — In October, Deschutes County Health Services partnered with Medical Teams International to offer a weekly walk-in COVID-19 vaccine pop-up at the airport. Clinic hours were 7am-1pm Fridays throughout the month.
- Satellite Welcome Center — In September, Visit Central Oregon unveiled a new in-terminal Visitor Information and Welcome Desk for inbound passengers at the airport. Staffed part time and located near baggage claim, the desk provides travelers with a warm welcome, along with a wealth of information about all that Central Oregon has to offer.
- $6,532,000 Contract Awarded to Knife River — In September, Knife River was awarded a $6,532,000 contract to reconstruct Taxiway F at the airport.
- Avelo Airlines Added to Carrier Lineup — In May, the airport welcomed Avelo Airlines (aveloair.com), with direct service to Burbank. As the first new mainline U.S. carrier in nearly 15 years, Avelo has an ultra-low-fare strategy, and offers sale-priced tickets at times ($44 flights to Los Angeles in August, and in September, $20 roundtrip flights to L.A. when purchased toward travel in early December). Avelo also gifted 42 roundtrip tickets to local 2021 graduates as part of an Avelo Grads-on-the-Go sweepstakes.
- Airport Earns $800K Federal Grant — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced in July that the Redmond Airport had earned an $800,000 federal grant to recruit, initiate and support new air service from Central Oregon to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.
The Redmond Airport is located at 2522 SE Jesse Butler Circle, #17, in Redmond. For more information, please call 541-548-0646.