Wing and a Prayer

Summary: This is a long but very interesting article about Humboldt County’s efforts to lure more air service. As Paul Kelley was to Sonoma County, they have a member of the county board of supervisors (Shirley Bass) who is actively involved in the efforts to lure airlines.  She and Emily Jacobs have gone to the airline “speed dating” conferences.  Like Chico, the airport operates at a deficit in part to the decreased revenue resulting from decreased commercial service.  This is well worth reading in full.  It underscores what we’ve said about needing a consistent and enthusiastic political supporter to add visibility both with the local population and with the airlines we want to woo.

From the “Herald & News” (Klamath Falls), 11 February 2016

On an early February afternoon, 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass found herself in a huge Denver convention hall filled with more than 100 tables. Sitting at each: potential matches. It was like speed dating, and she was prepared, despite the pressure of a giant clock ticking away the seconds of each timed interaction.

Would Bass find the perfect fit out of the dozens of attendees? The answer remains unclear. She wasn’t looking for romance, but instead courting representatives from airlines, looking to impress them with Humboldt County’s riches and charm.

Bass’s whirlwind wooing tour was only the latest in a years-long effort to increase options for Humboldt’s would-be flyers. It’s been successful on many fronts. Fly Humboldt, the public-private partnership organized to add flight routes into and out of the Arcata-Eureka Airport, has raised more than $1 million to lure airlines to serve the county. But the results of that fundraising and cheerleading have been … well, it’s hard to say. Bass, and her cohorts in the airplane recruitment faction are playing close to the vest. The airline industry has changed a lot in recent years, and companies hold the cards in an extremely competitive market. Any press could wildly swing Humboldt’s chances of attracting more air service, insiders say. Read the full article.