Since 2014, smaller airports such as Chico, Modesto and Klamath Falls have lost their air service. Klamath Falls is just now re-establishing some service.
In 2015 our passenger enplanements rose by 31 percent, and in 2016 they rose again by 37 percent. United’s flights to San Francisco are now all jets. The planes are larger, quieter, more reliable, more comfortable, and flight time is shorter. Our fares to SFO have been greatly reduced. In all, there have been many great additions to our air service. In April, we added service with Pen Air to Arcata/Eureka and Portland.
Here’s our problem. Only 12 percent of the people in Shasta County who buy airline tickets depart from Redding Municipal. As a community, if we use our airport rather than driving to Sacramento or San Francisco, we’ll be able to continue to grow our service and secure even more competitive air fares and new destinations.
In the past, many people have had unpleasant experiences traveling out of Redding to San Francisco, mostly due to weather issues in San Francisco. Others have found that the fares were very high. These issues are becoming remnants of the past. The jet service helps to minimize the challenges of San Francisco. In addition, the fare structure has been revamped to be more competitive. The fares will still be slightly higher than fares you’ll find out of Sacramento. However, when you factor in the cost of gasoline, wear and tear on your vehicles, the higher cost of parking and the time lost traveling to and from the airport, you’ll find our current fares to be extremely attractive.
San Francisco, due to its airport runway design, will never be a perfect answer. If the community would like to see alternative destinations, we need to use our airport. The airlines will not use their valuable planes, crews and gates without evidence of a market. A comment was made about Medford, and how it has more extensive service. The difference is that their community uses the airport. Their market does not have the larger airports as alternatives within a reasonable drive as we do. It would seem our proximity to these larger airports is both a blessing and a curse.
My recommendation is to give RDD a try. My last seven trips have been out of Redding. It is convenient, cost effective and very comfortable. You can change our prospects for expanded service by showing the airlines that a market exists.
Tony Giovaniello, Shasta EDC