Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Feb. 9 @ 4:43 p.m. / Community, Economy
BCRAA Director Hopes Advanced Air Contract Will Divert Local Passengers From Medford Airport to Del Norte County
With Los Angeles being most popular destination for local travelers, Border Coast Regional Airport Authority Director Ryan Cooley has high hopes for its new carrier.
After introducing Crescent City councilors to Advanced Air President Levi Stockton on Monday, Cooley said he hoped the BCRAA’s new contract with the Hawthorne-based airline would divert some of the local domestic traffic from Medford to Del Norte County.
During his BCRAA economic impact presentation, Cooley said the San Francisco-Bay Area is the No. 4 market for Del Norte and Curry counties. In addition to providing a link to Southern California, Advanced Air will also continue flights into Oakland, he said.
“That’s two of the top four destinations you’ll be able to get to out of our airport starting on March 17,” he said.
Stockton met City Councilors about a month after the BCRAA — a joint powers authority consisting of Del Norte and Curry counties, Brookings, Crescent City, Elk Valley Rancheria and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation — voted unanimously to terminate its contract with Contour Airlines effective March 16. Advanced Air will take over under a contract begins March 17 and will last through Sept. 30 when the BCRAA’s current U.S. Department of Transportation grant expires.
Advanced Air will offer daily flights between Crescent City and Oakland and twice weekly flights to Hawthorne on Thursdays and Sundays, Stockton told councilors.
Advanced Air began operating out of the Hawthorne Municipal Airport in 2005, starting as a high-end charter operator providing flights worldwide. Eight years ago it began scheduled service and, looking for ways to diversify, began operating through the U.S. DOT’s Essential Air Service program, Stockton said.
In addition to Crescent City, communities Advanced Air flies into include Carlsbad, Merced, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Gallup, New Mexico, Silver City and Las Cruces.
Advanced Air doesn’t operate outside of the Southwest, Stockton said. This enables the airline to fly another airplane out of its network should there be an issue with maintenance or the weather, he said.
“In Hawthorne, we have a master lease on the airport, so we control everything but the runway and the taxiway,” Stockton told councilors. “We’ve built over 200,000 square feet of hanger space and it’s been our home since 2005.”
The Hawthorne Municipal Airport is about three miles from Los Angeles International Airport and is near SoFi Stadium and the former Staples Center, Stockton said. Advanced Air will offer shuttle service to LAX for those with connecting flights. Stockton said the process would be reversed for those needing to get to Crescent City via LAX.
“When you book your ticket, indicate that you want a shuttle,” he said. “You give us your arrival flight, we pick you up curbside at LAX and bring you to your lfight in Hawthorne.”
Though on good days the drive between LAX and Hawthorne can take about 10 minutes, Stockton acknowledged that traffic can be bad on a holiday.
According to Cooley, the goal is to enter into a three- or four-year agreement with Advanced Air under BCRAA’s new Alternate Essential Air Service (AEAS) grant starting Oct. 1.
On Monday, Cooley told city councilors that in the BCRAA’s catchment area, 144,013 passengers “have the potential” to fly out of the Del Norte County Regional Airport. However, he said, about 64 percent fly out of the Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford. Thirteen percent drive to the Bay Area for air service, Cooley said.
“I can only imagine that that 13 percent were potentially people who were impacted by instances in the past, who perhaps chose to no longer fly out of Crescent City and drive because it was more reliable,” he told councilors.
In his economic impact presentation, Cooley said about 11,539 passengers connected to flights in Oakland last year through a separate ticket since the current carrier, Contour, doesn’t offer connections to other flights. He said the company that did the economic impact study was unable to determine where those passengers were going.
An estimated 3,826 visitors visit Del Norte and Curry counties via air service through the Del Norte County Regional Airport, Cooley said. According to 2022 numbers, the average visitor spends $331 and stays 2.7 nights in Del Norte County, he said.