Passenger traffic at Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport dipped in February over the previous years, with two of the three carriers that regularly use the facility reporting lower traffic.
The number of airline passengers using the regional airport declined by 6.4 percent in February to 26,019, compared with 27,791 in February of last year, according to a report Wednesday from the county-run airport.
Among the carriers currently using the facility, only Alaska Airlines posted a year-over-year gain. The Seattle-based airline served 21,690 passenger in February, a 6.6 percent rise over 12 months. Load factor — a measure of the percentage of seats filled on flights – was at 80 percent, compared with 72 percent last year.
Two months into the year, the total airline passenger count was static: 54,437 passengers, a 0.6 percent increase over 2018 at that time.
American Airlines’ Santa Rosa numbers declined 4.4 percent in February. It served 2,911 passengers at a load factor of 81 percent, up from 77 percent in February 2018.
In May, American Airlines plans to introduce direct seasonal flights from Sonoma County to Los Angeles and then to Dallas-Fort Worth a month later. Alaska Airlines serves five West Coast destinations, and Sun Country Airlines runs summer and fall routes to Las Vegas and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
United Airlines made news earlier this month with the launch of long-anticipated service to Denver, supplanting its daily flight to San Francisco. The airline's February passenger numbers through the airport were down 67.7 percent. The number of passengers on its planes last month was 1,475 with a load factor of 59 percent, up from 56 percent the February before.
Gina Stocker, airport marketing specialist, said thus far, the Denver interest in the new connection to the Mile High City is good.
“Denver flights are tracking very well in relation to comparable cities United has recently launched," Stocker said. "The first arrival from Denver on March 8 was sold out, and the next several days have favorable load factors.”
The Press Democrat contributed to this report.
See airport reports for previous months.