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Central Coast airports add new flights; COVID precautions remain

SLO airport.jpg
Posted at 10:43 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 16:27:38-04

New flights out of the San Luis Obispo airport were supposed to start last year but then the pandemic hit. Now, the airport is offering daily flights to and from San Diego and Portland.

Chuck Davison, President and CEO of Visit SLO CAL, said, “Both are just great avenue for introducing new visitors to San Luis Obispo County.”

Alaska Airlines, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport and Visit SLO CAL worked together to resurrect plans for the flights after putting them on pause.

Courtney Pene, deputy director of planning and outreach for the Department of Airports, said, “As we jump out of the pandemic and more people are on the road, flying is such an easy, great experience."

The flights to and from San Diego ran for about two months from January until March of 2020. The trips to Portland were slated to launch last June.

“San Diego’s a great attachment for us. There’s thousands of Cal Poly alums that live in the San Diego area," Davison said.

Pene added, “We have done studies that have shown that a lot of passengers that we do get originate from Portland.”

The flights will be daily and non-stop and will be able to hold more than seventy passengers. Davison told us that those who travel by air typically stay longer and spend more money – a boost to the local economy.

He said, “We know that there’s a big benefit to local businesses who create new connectivity. But also to our local residents who get to go on a plane and can get to destinations of choice in a much easier fashion.”

Often, water cannons are used to celebrate new flights, but the SLO airport says due to the “extreme water conditions of the state,” they won’t be using water cannons for the new flights Thursday.

At the Santa Barbara Airport, flights to and from San Diego also begin Thursday.