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New proposed incentive program could add direct flights from SLO airport

Posted at 10:54 PM, Nov 01, 2018

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport wants to provide fliers more options to travel to with the help of a new incentive program for airlines.

Next week, the county’s Board of Supervisors will decide to approve a Minimum Revenue Guarantee Program to help lure airlines to add service.

“The revenue guarantee program doesn’t cost anything initially,” said Kevin Bumen, Director of Airports. “It’s simply funds committed once an airline agrees to start service and if it performs successfully, there is no cost.”

The risk-sharing incentive policy would be available in the amount of $1 million, funded by the Tax Reduction Reserve Fund. Bumen says these days revenue guarantees are critical to airlines and airports create programs like these to incentivize companies.

The airport would provide $150,00 in cash for marketing and advertising of service on any new route without current service, or any route that has been dormant for a period of 12-months. It would also offer $75,000 in cash for marketing and advertising in year two of service. To be eligible, the service must operate at least twice per week.

“It’s not a check written to the airlines to say ‘Hey, here is revenue, come fly for us,'” Bumen said. “It’s essentially funding that fills in any gaps in the performance of the flight if it’s not performing adequately during start up.”

Bumen said the airport is targeting non-stop flight service to markets like Dallas, Houston, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Chicago, and Las Vegas. But it is key that people support programs like these to help facilitate growth.

“Air service is successful when the community supports it. I think it’s always important when people are thinking about where they are going to choose to travel from.”

Currently, Alaska, American and United Airlines offer service to and from the airport.

The meeting is set for Nov. 6.