11:12 PM EST, January 23, 2013
The Imperial Airport new flight route to San Diego commuter terminal was discussed tonight by the Imperial County Transportation Commission.
The Department of Transportation decided earlier this month that Seaport Airlines will serve the county for two years through the Essential Air Service program, a federal program that subsidizes rural airports.
Commissioner Sedalia Sanders brought the item to the ICTC meeting after she was asked to do so by members from the El Centro City Council.
“Several of my colleagues were concerned about the Seaport air service and the modification they made in their points of destination,” Sanders said before asking if it was possible to ask the carrier to make a modification to the route.
Seaport had originally offered 17 weekly roundtrips to San Diego and 12 weekly roundtrips to Burbank airport north of Los Angeles in a nine-seat airplane. This offer had support from the county and the City of Imperial.
However, according to a DOT report, the federal government decided against the San Diego/Burbank option “given the program’s current budget constraints” and selected the less expensive option which includes five flights per day to San Diego only.
Airport Manager Sandy Gutierrez said Seaport representatives are scheduled to have a meeting with the DOT to see if the route can be changed.
And this change order with the DOT is possible, said Geoff Dale, Seaport’s Southwest regional manager who noted that Seaport has had change orders in the past and iscommitted to be part of the community.
County Executive Officer Ralph Cordova added that although Seaport might have a change order with the DOT, the carrier is looking to include Burbank as a destination outside the DOT contract. Cordova also said he’s meeting with Seaport representatives to discuss the matter Thursday.
Feb. 28 is the last day for SkyWest, and Seaport will start its daily trips to San Diego March 1.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press