SkyWest flights from Crescent City to Sacramento won’t be an option after Dec. 2.
But even though this may be an inconvenience for some, local airport officials say most folks flying out of Crescent City are headed to other connecting flights in San Francisco.
“It’s going to cost those that go to Sacramento by (plane),” said District 5 Supervisor David Finigan, who sits on the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority, which operates Del Norte County Regional Airport. “It’s going to cost more money and time.”
The airline, based in St. George, Utah, notified the airport authority on Thursday that daily flights to and from Sacramento via Arcata would be discontinued after Dec. 2.
The flight cancellation is due to poor performance in the market, according to SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow. Passengers who have a trip planned after Dec. 2 will be offered other accommodations. SkyWest will continue to offer flights between Crescent City and San Francisco, she said.
Currently, flights from Crescent City to Sacramento leave at 5:56 p.m., according to airport manager Susan Daugherty. The flight from Sacramento is the first to arrive at 8:42 a.m. It then leaves Crescent City for San Francisco at 9:07 a.m., Daugherty said.
“That plane no longer coming in from Sacramento probably means the time (it) leaves for San Francisco is going to change,” she said. “(SkyWest) was not able to provide me with that information yet.”
Daugherty said SkyWest’s decision to discontinue its Crescent City-to-Sacramento flights was expected. Those flights aren’t covered under the Essential Air Service agreement, but trips to San Francisco are, she said. The Essential Air Service program was put in place by the Department of Transportation to guarantee that small communities receive a minimal level of scheduled air service.
“We were just an easy add-on for the Sac flight because it went through Arcata,” Daugherty said in a written statement Friday. “That whole route is canceled now (due to) a lack of profitability.”
Crescent City passengers bound for Sacramento will need to catch a connecting flight in San Francisco, Daugherty said.
Finigan, who regularly travels to Sacramento due to his involvement with the California State Association of Counties, said planes would start out with four to six passengers at the Del Norte County Airport and pick up seven to 10 more in Arcata.
Finigan said the change that worried him more was SkyWest’s decision earlier this year to cancel a flight that arrived in Crescent City from San Francisco at about 10 p.m. and left early the next day. The plane would stay at the airport overnight and early morning passengers could be sure of leaving on time, he said.
“I thought that was a very popular flight,” Finigan said.
Despite the canceled early-morning flight, the number of enplanements — or people who board an airplane — is up by about 12.7 percent, Daugherty said.
As of July 2014, Jack McNamara Field has seen 7,928 people get onto an airplane, according to Daugherty. She said that’s higher than the best numbers she has on record, which are from 2011. The airport saw 7,827 people board a plane between January and July 2011, Daugherty said.
“I know I just came back from a flight yesterday where they had overbooked it and had to ask for three volunteers to take a later flight,” she said, adding that she thinks the number of people flying into Crescent City is also up this year.
“And it was straight to Crescent City, from San Francisco to Crescent City. It’s good for us to see those numbers.”