Travel

Sonoma County airport journey plummets throughout January shutdown

Journey by the Sonoma County airport fell sharply within the month of January as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order prolonged by a lot of the month, exhibiting {that a} majority of residents took heed and postpone heading out of city.

Only a hair over 6,000 folks handed by Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in the course of the first month of 2021 — a virtually 84% slide from the identical time final yr, earlier than the pandemic took maintain. The entire — the bottom since Might — additionally represented an nearly 45% decline from the prior month, when the governor requested Californians in the course of the first week of December to remain residence for the year-end holidays to assist restrict the unfold of the coronavirus throughout a peak in transmissions.

“That closure of the economic system is extremely reflective in these numbers. Individuals had been doing what was requested, and never transferring and touring,” mentioned Sonoma County Airport Supervisor Jon Stout. “The 6,000 was decrease than I used to be pondering it might be. It was noticeable within the drop-off in comparison with November and December.”

After solely October, November was the airport’s second-busiest month in the course of the pandemic, with almost 18,000 passengers. That whole was lower than half the month-to-month quantity recorded in 2019, however is the closest the regional air hub has gotten to pre-coronavirus journey patterns for the reason that backside fell out from underneath the worldwide airline business final April.

Because the native climate once more begins to heat, coronavirus infections fall and extra individuals are capable of acquire vaccinations for COVID-19, Stout mentioned he’s assured that residents and guests will once more take to the skies.

“Individuals I discuss to need to journey, and get away from residence and never do the ‘staycation’ anymore,” he mentioned. “And if not a trip, they need to go see their relations and household. The enterprise aspect (of journey) is sounding prefer it’s going to be a slower return.”

Sonoma County airport at present affords between three and 5 flights per day, with service from Alaska Airways — the airport’s important air provider — and American Airways. Alaska affords direct routes to and from Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle. American for now flies nonstop to simply Phoenix, with plans to relaunch direct service to and from Dallas/Fort Value in early April.

In the meantime, United Airways, the opposite of the airport’s three carriers, suspended service in October, with intentions of bringing again its routes between Santa Rosa and Denver, in addition to the brief flight to and from San Francisco, in late March. These plans have now been postponed to early June, Stout mentioned.

“United I knew had some iffy-ness to it,” he mentioned. “All of it trusted vaccinations and the economic system opening again up. With the current lockdowns, it was not a shock seeing that they acquired pushed.”

Emails over two days to a United Airways spokesman weren’t answered.

By early Might, the airport might see the return to as many as 11 every day flights, together with American Airways including again a second nonstop flight to Phoenix and direct service to Los Angeles. Alaska Airways is at present anticipated to relaunch nonstop journeys to and from Portland, in addition to Orange County, by the center of March.

“So that’s positively an enormous enchancment and we’ll take it. And hopefully we’ll see a rebound of passengers, and hopefully vaccinations and begin opening up.”

You possibly can attain Workers Author Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or kevin.fixler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @kfixler.

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