Ready for takeoff | Intel brings back 'Intel Air', its employee flight shuttle for inter-office commuting

Intel brings back 'Intel Air', its employee flight shuttle for inter-office commuting

Intel has resumed 'Intel Air,' its airplane employee shuttle service, a year after cutting the flights amid wider cost-cutting measures. 

Flights returned on Monday, April 1, with an ‘Intel Air’ jet flying between Hillsboro, Oregon, and San Jose, California, four times over the day.

Intel had previously operated 13 flights daily, allowing employees to travel between offices in Oregon, California, and Arizona, before lowering the schedule to eight flights after the pandemic.

In March 2023, the chip-maker put the chocks on its shuttle service. “We temporarily paused our shuttle service as we reduce employee travel as part of our ongoing cost-cutting efforts and are asking employees to use commercial flights for approved travel during this time,” A spokesperson at the time told The Oregonian/Oregon Live.

The move followed other cost-cutting measures such as layoffs, pay cuts, and bonus freezes.

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 According to the Port of Portland, which runs Hillsboro Airport, Intel will now run flights up to six times per day. Intel's spokesperson says the company will operate two larger aircraft later this year, which can carry more employees, compensating for the reduced number of flights.

Information from FlightAware, a flight tracking site shows the four flights on Monday used a 50-passenger jet.

Intel employees previously benefited from the shuttle, allowing workers based in its Washington County office, which has the highest amount of employees, to attend meetings with colleagues at other campuses, including its headquarters in Silicon Valley and a site in Arizona.

The move appears to show Intel’s financial position is improving. But it may also signal a possible push for greater in-office collaboration.

Research indicates this may not only drive collaboration, but also engagement with employees for in-office work. A 2024 survey from Ringover of over 1,000 U.S. workers recently revealed that eight out of 10 employees would be encouraged back to the office if their commute was paid for by their organization.

It may also help drive engagement and boost productivity for Intel workers who are able to avoid a nightmarish commute from the Oregon office to Portand International Airport.

One Reddit user predicts that employees will be “giddy” about the news, describing the journey between the Hillsboro facilities and Portland International Airport to catch commercial flights, as “utter hell.”

“The airfield in Hillsboro that Intel's private flights take off from, meanwhile, is literally right across the street from the Jones Farm campus,” they write. “The time savings are immense.”

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