Pangborn Memorial Airport History


Pangborn Memorial Airport has proudly been in existence since 1941. The airport was named after Clyde Pangborn, who along with co-pilot Hugh Herndon completed the first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean in 1931. Their epic journey began in Misawa, Japan, and ended 41 hours later in East Wenatchee, Washington. In 1945, Northwest Airlines launched the first commercial passenger air service to and from Pangborn Memorial Airport and the rest is history. Our air service is now provided by Alaska Airlines and its regional subsidiary Horizon Air. With daily flights to Seattle and connections beyond, accessing the world has never been easier from the Wenatchee Valley.

Today the airport is owned and operated by the Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties. Under a joint operating agreement, the Port of Douglas County is responsible for the management of the airport’s business park. The Port of Chelan County retains the authority of the governing board and is responsible for aviation operations. However, it wasn’t always this way. The airport was originally governed by the City of Wenatchee, which, in recognition of the regional importance and benefit of the airport, transferred ownership to the Port of Chelan County in 1965. To further the regional vision for the airport, the Port of Chelan County gave the neighboring Port of Douglas County half interest in the airport in 1974. This partnership continues to thrive. The ports completed a terminal building project in 1992, and with major support and assistance of Senator Patty Murray, obtained federal funds for the installation of an instrument landing system, which became active in 2006.

The airport’s primary runway (Runway 12/30) was extended to 7,000 feet in 2016 to accommodate larger aircraft. This multi-year, $30 million dollar project was funded with Airport Improvement Program funds and by the Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties. The project was no easy feat as it required the purchase of several homes and orchards, relocation of Grant Road, and relocation of several major utilities. With the primary runway extension complete, the Pangborn Memorial Airport is equipped for a bright future.

Image of a red airplane flying over a green landscape
Image of a red airplane sitting in front of a hangar