Fires blamed for dip in Santa Rosa airport passenger traffic in October

Passengers disembark a Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air flight from San Diego at the Sonoma County Airport on Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Santa Rosa, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)


A total of 26,921 passengers flew through Santa Rosa’s Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport in October, down 13.1 percent from 30,980 in October 2016, based on new figures from the airport.

The drop can be attributed to the wildfires that raged through Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Mendocino counties the first half of the month.

“It was a hard month all around. The good news is the parking lots have been overflowing the last few weeks, so I think we’re recovering,” said Gina Stocker, marketing specialist for the airport.

The number of passengers was also down from 38,219 in September.

For the year so far, airline passengers totaled 331,315, up 17 percent from 282,992 this time in October last year.

In October, Alaska Airlines reported 18,374 passengers, compared with 27,103 a year ago, with a 63 percent load factor — the ratio of passengers to seats on each plane. Over the year, Alaska’s ridership was down 1.7 percent, with 256,753 passengers so far this year.

American Airlines, which began service to Phoenix in February and added a second flight in July, reported 4,380 passengers for the month and 37,651 so far in the year. The carrier’s load factor was 70 percent.

United Airlines, which began service between Santa Rosa (airport code STS) and San Francisco (SFO) June 8, reported 3,384 passengers for the month and a load factor of 50 percent.

Sun Country Airlines, which began once a week service to Minneapolis on Aug. 24, reported 783 passengers and a load factor of 53 percent.