By Samuel Strait – January 17, 2021

I used to fly regularly out of Crescent City, when there was service to
San Francisco.  I am sure that this was the case for many a local
traveler in spite of the iffy weather that made the flight down a
challenge.  Since the service first went to Portland, Oregon, and now to
Oakland California, I have elected to take a different approach to
traveling by air.  Flying out of Crescent City is no longer an option. 
I suspect that many local public officials have also taken a new
approach from using the Crescent City Airport to travel to Sacramento
for government business since having to deal with Pen Air going to
Portland and then Contour Air going to Oakland.

The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority for some time has avoided
dealing with the critical issue of airlines transforming their fleets to
all jet travel.  As a result there is an inexplicable lack of
understanding that in order for the airport’s traffic to increase and
thereby grow, two things should have superseded any effort to build a
new terminal.   The first being a longer runway to accommodate the new
fleet of fifty passenger jets that were going into service to replace
ageing twin prop airplanes which had previously serviced Crescent City. 
The second was to continue service to both Sacramento and San
Francisco.  Once that had been accomplish then the currently under
utilized new terminal would have made sense.

With the existing service provided by Contour Air of a single flight
each day, the maximum enplanements will only reach 10,950, a substantial
decline.  If Contour Air were to exercise it’s options of providing
three extra flight per week, the total would reach a bit over 15,000
passengers per year.  I doubt that Contour Air has been able to attract
10,000 enplanements in a calendar year let alone 15,000.  That will
never happen with Oakland being the only destination.  What the
Authority failed to account for, is that air travel itself is prone to
difficulties, particularly when utilizing a medium sized airport, which
Oakland most certainly is.  While Contour Air recently acquired an
agreement with American Airlines which has some what streamlined the
process, it will not be able to overcome cost and convenience issues
found in a major airport such a SFO.

Traveling, business and Sacramento travelers are all affected by using
Oakland as an intermediate stop and have begun using Medford or Arcata
as an alternative airport.  This will continue to happen until air
traffic is once again using San Francisco.  Contour Air will continue to
operate until the lack of growth will force them to abandon Crescent
City as Pen Air did before them.  At that point, if it hasn’t already
occurred, how will the BCRAA pay the County back for the matching money
paid to construct the new terminal?  A better question might be asked,
is the BCRAA even paying back the loan from the County?   Engaging
Contour Air may seem like a step up for air service to and from Crescent
City, but it is actually a step backwards. The new terminal Will become
an unnecessary burden before too long, and then what will the BCRAA do?

7 thoughts on “Our Airport”
  1. Are you Kidding me … every VIABLE CIty needs a AIPORT until the PANDEMIC people were using the Airport regularly.. we are s small city but flying to Oakland was a way to make connections to other City’s If our lives improve we are going to need other Airlines that will need longer runways to LAND their Aircraft! THINK OF OUR FUTURE not of our PAST!

    1. As I have said Leslie, Oakland is an inadequate destination for growth and even if Contour were fully booked, it would not be enough. Fully one third of the potential passengers do not want to go to Oakland at present. There would have to be two fully booked flights per day (60) to reach the goal of a lengthened runway. Going to Oakland that would mean three fully booked flights per day. Government people want to go to Sacramento non stop, the rest of us prefer San Francisco, some maybe Portland. Eighteen airlines serve Oakland, over sixty in SFO. That difference alone is significant, unless you want to go to Mexico.

    2. Sorry, I got interrupted. The old terminal was perfectly adequate for 10,000 enplanements per year. Since we have no connecting flights out of here, the new terminal is an over reach and will likely be underutilized for the foreseeable future. People fly in, people fly out, no need for anyone to hang out in the terminal waiting for a connection.

      One other thing to know. Contour Air has reduced the seat capacity in their jets for reasons other than weight limits on takeoffs. By flying with thirty passengers or less, they do not have to meet certain standards regarding the pilot and the first officer. Not that they are any less safe, but it is a cost consideration, something the company is mindful of about anything they do. As a result, in order to grow with Contour Air, they would have to go to a larger jet, not likely, or fly more than once to Oakland. Because Oakland is less desirable, I doubt that the enplanements would be sufficient to allow that. The only solution is to some how get to twenty thousand enplanements by going to a larger or more preferable hub, San Francisco/Sacramento. It’s not rocket science. We just have people that sit on boards that hire bureaucrats who are clueless when it comes to how businesses work. You are not going to stay in business if you can’t sell your product, at least for very long. 9144 passengers per year isn’t going to do it, subsidized or not.

  2. likes to fly from here to oakland, then to morelia mexico, which makes for a wonderful vacation once a year. Thank you contour. The price is great also.

  3. I have not flown anywhere since 1999 so I have no knowledge of what flying is life post 9/11, and I do not intend to find out.

  4. This is yet another ridiculous investment. You didn’t need a crystal ball to see how this one was going to come out. Take away the government folks, who the hell rides the plane? Tourists and visitors drive up here. Brookings, Oregon, the Tolowa Tribe,and Yurok Tribe are not as ignorant as our county leaders are, they pulled out of investing….
    Won’t be long before the terminal will be converted to a homeless shelter.

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