[caption id="attachment_50218" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Alaska Air currently serves Santa Rosa with Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Airline travel in and out of Charles M. Schulz--Sonoma County Airport continued to climb upward in February, reaching an all-time high of 14,996 passengers, an increase of 5.4 percent from a year before, according to figures released this morning.

That bested the previous record since airline service returned in 2007. January airline passenger volume was 14,680, 2.3 percent more than a year before, according to numbers from Alaska Airlines, the north Santa Rosa airport's only commercial carrier.[poll id="3"]

The pace this year is ahead of the same period a year before. In the first two months, 29,676 passengers have used the airport, an increase of 3.8 percent and 22.6 percent more than the 24,201 passengers using the airport at the beginning of 2010.

2011 travel was 9.8 percent higher than in 2010, also an all-time high.

Alaska Airlines, through Horizon Air, currently operates five flights a day from Santa Rosa to Portland, Seattle,  Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The airline also recently announced a shakeup in its Santa Rosa flights, adding a new flight to San Diego and an additional one to Los Angeles and planning to discontinue Las Vegas service, a move that surprised many.

The airport is currently awaiting federal approval to start an $84 million expansion and upgrade of the county-run facility, which would enhance the runways and infrastructure, thus expanding its reach and likely bolstering the county's $1.2 billion tourism industry.  The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the project, and airport staff has said the Federal Aviation Administration could sign off on the plans by April.