American Airlines to offer nonstop service to Phoenix from Sonoma County airport

Joe Hughes, regional director of government affairs for American Airlines, announces American Airlines daily, non-stop service to Phoenix at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Santa Rosa, California.

Joe Hughes, regional director of government affairs for American Airlines, announces American Airlines daily, non-stop service to Phoenix at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Santa Rosa, California.

Sonoma County’s airport is getting another major boost to its expansion efforts with the world’s largest airline announcing plans Monday to begin daily, nonstop service to Phoenix starting in February.

American Airlines will become the second major carrier offering daily service at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, which on Sept. 15 received county approval to finance a $20 million project more than doubling the size of the terminal, as well as parking spaces at the west end of Airport Boulevard.

Phoenix isn’t Denver or Salt Lake City, the two hubs most prized by airport officials and by many local travelers. But as its name implies, Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport is a major spoke, one that streamlines connections to farther-flung destinations.

“It’s not a home run like Denver, but it’s close,” airport manager Jon Stout said Monday at the airport, where red, white and blue balloons reflecting American’s corporate colors festooned the passenger waiting area. “It gives us that hub, and it gives us that airline.”

The Phoenix airport schedules more than 300 daily flights to 75 destinations, including Mexico and Canada.

American’s Phoenix service will begin Feb. 16 with a new, or close to it, Bombardier CRJ-700 jet, said Joe Hughes, the airline’s regional director of government affairs. He said the aircraft seats up to 70 passengers in first or economy class and will include “all the bells and whistles,” including onboard Wi-Fi.

“It’s not a vomit comet,” he said.

The short flights initially are planned to arrive in Sonoma County at 3:42 p.m. and depart daily at 4:12 p.m.

American’s website on Monday advertised one-way fares of $538 for the flights, significantly higher than most competitors flying to Phoenix from other regional airports. Read the full article.