In a past life, I worked for Mesa Air Group, a Phoenix-based regional carrier, where I had the chance to observe the team that listened to air service pitches from airports and local communities. Every community, large and small, knows they need commercial air service to be connected to the global air transportation system.
Scheduled air service means that residents can get to the places they need quickly. More importantly, it means businesses can have the flights they need to continue to be an economic engine for their communities. So airports will work with local businesses and the community to convince airlines that they need flights to new cities and expanded service to existing ones.
Take the case of California’s Arcata-Eureka Airport, which currently has five daily flights on United Express to San Francisco International Airport and two flights to Sacramento.
Fly Humboldt, a group of businesses, organizations and citizens, has been formed for the expressed purpose of raising money to entice airlines to add flights. According to its website, Fly Humboldt has raised $875,000 has been raised, but that’s no guarantee that the service will come.
With consolidation and contraction, airlines are very picky about who gets service — and who doesn’t. The city must make a compelling case — complete with historical and current air travel statistics — to the airlines. And even if they do make a good case, there are other communities that have done the same. With finite resources, not everyone will get those flights, even with money on the table and a compelling case.
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Benét J. Wilson is co-editor of AirwaysNews.com and blogs at AviationQueen.com. She has been an aviation/travel journalists for more than 20 years. Follow her on Twitter @AvQueenBenet