More Sonoma County airport route cuts considered as April volume down 95% amid the coronavirus lockdowns
Amid public anxiety about travel during the coronavirus pandemic, passenger volume in and out of Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in April dropped an average of 95% from the previous April, and airlines serving Santa Rosa are considering more cuts to some routes, officials said Friday.
Those three commercial air carriers — Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines — carried 1,407 passengers last month, down from 34,056 a year before, the airport reported.
“It’s consistent with what’s going on across the country,” said Airport Manager Jon Stout, adding that even though the numbers “hurt,” it’s positive that people are following shelter-in-place orders and minimizing travel. “At this point, you really should only be flying for essential reasons.”
Alaska Airlines in April flew 823 passengers, a 96.8% drop from April 2019. Alaska’s load factor — the measure of how full its aircraft were on average — was 8%, down 90.6% from a year earlier.
Alaska is staying on course with its daily service to Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego, though it continues to monitor flight schedules on a day-to-day basis, which sometimes results in cancellations, Stout said. That schedule is expected to continue through June.
American Airlines last month carried 496 passengers through Santa Rosa, down 86.9% compared to a year earlier. The carrier’s load factor was 9% in April, down 88.9% from April 2019.
American’s daily Phoenix flight has been trimmed to five days a week, with no service on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Stout said. And while the carrier on most days has maintained its daily service to Dallas, Stout said he’s been given a heads up that American may temporarily suspend service to Dallas from early June to early July.
Meanwhile, United Airlines in April served 88 passengers via Sonoma County, compared with 4,931 in April 2019 — a 98.2% drop. The carrier’s load factor last month was 4%, compared with 86% a year earlier.
United currently is providing service to San Francisco on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and it is likely to keep the same schedule throughout June, Stout said.