Modesto News blog: City Council meeting to reveal more about effort to restart L.A. flights

kvaline@modbee.comDecember 26, 2013 

— The public can learn more about the city and its consultant’s effort to restart air passenger service with Los Angeles.

The Modesto City Council’s Economic Development Committee is expected to get a briefing at its Jan. 6 meeting on the effort. The meeting is open to the public.

Cities typically have offered financial guarantees to make up for any revenue shortfalls to airlines to start new services. Modesto cannot afford to offer such a guarantee. So its airport consultant – Oregon-based Sixel Consulting Group – will solicit pledges from businesses and others as a demonstration to an airliner of the region’s commitment to the Los Angeles flights.

Sixel Consulting Group owner Mark Sixel has said he has an “oral understanding” with a carrier that if his firm can collect $1 million in pledges, it would start the flights at the Modesto Airport. He declined to name the carrier. The pledges are nonbinding but are expected to be honored.

The pledge drive is expected to start in January.

SkyWest Airlines provides the only regularly scheduled commercial flights from Modesto Airport – three daily flights to and from San Francisco. Those flights often are delayed because of bad weather and construction projects at San Francisco International Airport, causing Modesto travelers to miss their connecting flights.

SkyWest restarted Los Angeles service in 2006 but discontinued the flights in 2008. Before that, the last Los Angeles flights were in 1992.

Sixel has said he believes there is great potential for the flights, with the Modesto Airport reaching about 1 million people in Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Calaveras, southern San Joaquin and northern Merced counties.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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