Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – August 9, 2017 –

Could things get any worse?  Alaska based PenAir announced they’ve filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and want to stop servicing Crescent City. Founded in 1955, it is the oldest family-owned airline in the United states with 700 employees serving 25 destination. All, but the essential Air Service (EAS) route between Portland and Crescent City, California, was shut down effective close of business on Monday, August 7th.

Where does that leave Crescent City?  Will we be soliciting seven seater puddle jumpers making frequent trips to Medford, Oregon since we can’t attract jets because our apron and runway are too short?

With a $2.8 million new terminal under construction should we be looking at double zoning our airport?


  • Make it an event center for weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs?
  • How about locating our homeless shelter or safe and sober facilities out there?
  • Maybe with the threat of North Korea’s boasts of shooting missiles capable of landing on US soil, we should turn it into an anti-ballistic missile site? A sure money maker.

Right now it seems reasonable to talk about runways. With that in mind, Sup. Bob Berkowitz suggested in Tuesday, August 8th BOS meeting, that Chairman, Chris Howard form and be on an Ad Hoc Committee specifically to expand the runway.  This idea was shot down by Sup. Gerry Hemmingsen who felt that discussion held years ago was sufficient.

Former Crescent City Mayor/Council member, Rich Enea, back in town for his father-in-law’s 83rd birthday, joined the 6 am meeting at Fisherman’s Restaurant.  He reminded me that when former Supervisor, David Finigan, came before the City Council years ago to invite the City to become a member of the Airport Authority AT NO CHARGE, I said to Finigan, “Will you put that in writing?”  After a while his NO CHARGE became $20,000 a year.

Finigan will forever get the credit for the new airport terminal as well as the blame as Sup. Berkowitz wonders, “What’s going to happen to this beautiful Taj Mahal we’re building?”

Quoting Sup. Gitlin, “EAS is an eggshell foundation.  We cannot count on continued subsidies to our airport.  I told my fellow board members to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of $2.8 million, but was voted down 4-1.”



10 thoughts on “Airport Service to Nowhere – Finigan’s Folly?”
  1. You may remember me from Mr Rogers Neighborhood.. the mailman (Mr Mcfeely…”speedy delivery”). I am almost a hundred years old now and need air transportation for medical service. I feel that I should get some speedy delivery after all of these years of entertaining your kids.

  2. Here is a hint, Fingan’s LOAN to the airport is $2.8M. So much for accurately. They don’t call it Short Bus News for nothing!

  3. Actually, WTF, when Sky West provided service to San Francisco, they wanted to go to 30 passenger commuter jets, but the airport authority jacked around getting the air strip lengthened for too many years, Sky West got tired of waiting and in came PenAir. Most people I talked to thought it was a horrible idea, flying to Portland, much smaller airport, fewer options, more expensive. When the funding for the lengthened runway fell through, then the brainiacs on the authority board decided to go ahead with the terminal even though it really is pointless without the runway being lengthened.

    Going to San Francisco actually provided the passenger numbers for a 30 passenger jet to fly to San Francisco with the EAS subsidy to be viable. If the airport authority had made a greater effort to put the runway first, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now. Another thing that Supervisors Howard and Hemmingsen on the current board of Supervisors got wrong. Leave it to Supervisor Hemmingsen to call that train wreck of a discussion for over a decade “sufficient.”

    Also, I wonder just who in the “Public” thought retaining PenAir was such a good idea? The authority, by not lengthening the runway, has placed air service to pretty much prop planes only, when most air carriers are going to jet aircraft only. Kind of limits the possibilities for any reasonable alternatives for continued air service.

    Can’t wait for some of the “dead wood” representatives on some of these boards and commissions to get removed from office. Think $40,000 is still too much to pay to get rid of some of the incompetence a bit earlier? Think it is still a political vendetta to get rid of Supervisors that are making a career out of sitting on their collective hands.

  4. The point of having the airport is to ensure the rich can come into Crescent City when Last Chance Grade falls into the ocean. They were not satisfied with the old terminal. They won’t need Pen aAr. They will have private charters. Just a stupid guess. I have no other explanation for this airport fiasco.

  5. Boutique Air would have been a better choice, but the majority of the public wanted to go with PenAir. Hopefully they are still interested in servicing CEC.

  6. What a sad situation on this airport. Can somebody explain to me how we would fill a large jet with passengers when right now, we’re averaging less than 5 passengers a day? The only passengers are government workers flying to Sacramento? Most tourists that come up here drive RV’s or drive because of the beauty?

    Why would we want to pour more money down the drain on a runway? I’m not seeing the payoff.

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