Local News

Mar 23, 2010 2:36 AM by Bill Halter

San Luis Obispo County Airport turning to consulting firm to expand

The San Luis Obispo County Airport wants more flights and more airlines. The airport was one of 19 airports in the country to receive a $500,000 federal grant. One of the things it wants to spend the money on is a consulting firm to help it attract more business. The airport is making that request in front of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Fifty-eight percent of travelers in San Luis Obispo County head to another airport when they leave town. That's according to the Sixel Consulting Group, the company the airport plans to hire.

The General Manager of Airport Services, Richard Howell, says the consulting firm will help the airport get new airlines. Howell says the Sixel Group has professional expertise in this area and connections with the airlines.

In a survey conducted by Sixel, 14-percent of San Luis Obispo travelers would most like to see flights to Denver. Number two on the list was Sacramento, followed by Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City.

The airport hopes to add more flights and more destinations and is willing to pay the consulting group $20,000 to $30,000 to help them. Sixel would receive additional money if it is able to recruit new flights or airlines. The money would come from federal funds plus local contributions. County funds would not be involved.

"This is simply air service development. All we're trying to do here is get more airplanes with more seats to take people where they want to go," Howell says. If the contract is approved, the airport says there could be new air service as soon as this fall.

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