Arcata-Eureka Airport to no longer offer direct flights to Sacramento

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MCKINLEYVILLE- Starting December 2nd, North Coast commuters will have less options for air travel, as Arcata-Eureka Airport will no longer be offering direct flights to Sacramento.

Flights from Arcata-Eureka Airport to Sacramento International Airport have been offered for years.

"On average, we see about 600 passengers per month using the two Sacramento flights a day, so that's about 20 people a day," said Emily Jacobs, the Program Coordinator for the Humboldt County Aviation Division.

But starting December 2nd, these flights will no longer be offered.  Officials with SkyWest, which operates the United Express flights from Arcata-Eureka Airport to Sacramento International Airport, say “poor performance in the market” is the reason the flights are being discontinued.

"We're are of course disappointed.  Our goal is more routes to more destinations, but we also support the decisions that our airlines here make and understand that they're a business and they need to make tough business decisions at times," Jacobs said.

One passenger, Birgitta Portalupi, has friends that regularly take the route from Arcata-Eureka Airport to Sacremento, and says it will be inconvenient for them.

"I have one friend in particular who's really going to be impacted because her husband works and lives over in Sacramento and she lives here, so he either drives home on weekends or flies, and she usually flies to see him," said Portalupi, who lives in Arcata.

Humboldt County Aviation Division officials say along with the loss of airport revenue, less air traffic means fewer opportunities for federal funding, which can have far reaching effects on the community.

"It helps us get money for projects on all of our airports.  And those outlying airports are very important for emergency services, firefighting, medivac-ing people out of places.  And so by supporting your local airport, you're putting a lot of money into the infrastructure of your community," said Jacobs.

Jacobs also says the best way to increase the chances of getting Sacramento flights to return to the airport is for people to fly the routes that are already in place.

"There's a shortage of regional aircraft all across the nation, so the regional aircraft that the airlines do own, they're going to fly them out of places where they fill up all the seats.  So the more you fill your seats, the more chance you have of getting aircraft assigned to your airport to service a route,” Jacobs said.

She says this is proven by increases to the number of flights at other airports.

"We have a lot of people from our community driving to either Santa Rosa or Medford to use those airports.  In fact, both of those airports have added new routes and more flights due to Humboldt County passengers driving,"  said Jacobs.