Airline ridership up 3.6 percent in September at Sonoma County airport

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Airline ridership increased 3.6 percent in September from a year earlier at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

To date this year, ridership has exceeded 192,000 passengers, an increase of 8.4 percent from the same period in 2014, according to airport officials.

The rise is due mostly to a second daily flight to Seattle that Alaska Airlines added for the summer. As a result, ridership jumped 19.5 percent in July from a year earlier.

Alaska, the airport’s sole commercial carrier, since has ended the extra Seattle flight but added a fourth non-stop flight to Los Angeles for September and October.

Along with Seattle and Los Angeles, Alaska offers daily nonstop flights from Santa Rosa to Portland and San Diego.

In September, the average flight was 78 percent full, compared to 80 percent a year ago, an airport spokeswoman said.

A survey from the Sonoma County Economic Development Board found that 24 percent of airport passengers came here for business, conferences or trade shows. Thirty-six percent came to visit family and friends, while 31 percent came for vacations, getaways or weddings.

Robert Digitale

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