The year got off to a strong start with Allegiant announcing that it would add a new flight to San Diego. The new service flies nonstop between Stockton Airport and San Diego International Airport (SAN). The San Diego flights began in April, and by June the demand for them led to an expansion in the number of flights. Allegiant added a third weekly flight on Tuesdays in addition to their service on Sundays and Thursdays. The new flight has been a welcome addition to the other flights provided by Allegiant to Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa.The airport applied for and was successful in being awarded a Small Community Air Service Development Program grant from US Department of Transport (USDOT) in the amount of $650,000 to provide daily air passenger service to LAX. The grant requires a $365,000 local match. We want to reserve this grant award for a larger passenger jet servicethat a regional carrier provides. Our intention is to pursue discussions with carriers to develop daily jet passenger service to a major hub, whether it is LAX, Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Seattle, or Salt Lake City. We have approached USDOT about modifying the grant if we get an airline that wants to go to a different hub than the currently approved LAX.
The airport is also in an exciting period of growth for its air cargo services. Full-time air cargo service began here in February. Currently, the airport has two air cargo service companies providing air freight services for a leading online retail company. “We went from no cargo service to seeing 29 million pounds of cargo within a year,” said Ron Elliott, Deputy Director.
Airport has several advantages that make it ideal for air cargo service, including readily develop able warehouse sites owned by the airport and adjacent to the airport’s large cargo ramp. The airport’s location is also a plus: with direct access to both Highway 99 and Interstate 5, the airport is easily accessible to the surrounding community as well as other means of transportation.
The airport is aggressively pursuing air and passenger service to China. We have been able to secure cooperation agreements with two major airports in China, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport , and are working on a third one with the jurisdiction of Luzhou Lantian Airport in Sichuan Province. These are early stage efforts to build on the strong cargo and passenger markets that are growing faster than any other part of the world. We believe that there is great potential for our future growth with these relationships.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a $2.6 million grant to rebuild and resurface the airport’s burgeoning general aviation ramp, which accommodates the Airport’s largest employers, including Atlantic Aviation.In early 2016, Airport Administration conducted pavement assessments which prioritized the general aviation ramp area as beingin serious need of reconstruction. As a good partner, Atlantic Aviation, Stockton Airport’s sole fixed-based operator, funded the $300,000 engineering costs which allowed the airport to enter the current year’s federal-funding cycle. This accelerated the project by one year.This project was one of the projects on the agenda for One Voice, a San Joaquin Council of Governments regional advocacy effort that sent a delegation made up of San Joaquin County business, government, and agency leaders to Washington, D.C. in April. There, they advocated for the project, which proved successful.The airport is also continuing to work with our architect and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on the design of the Federal Inspection Station (FIS) facility to accommodate international service from Stockton. We took schematic-level drawings with us on the One Voice trip to Washington and met with the USCBP headquarters staff to discuss how to resolve staffing issues.
The airport’s success is the community’s success. A report from the University of the Pacific (UOP) reveals that the total San Joaquin County-wide economic impact of Stockton Metropolitan Airport is in excess of a half billion dollars. The report quantified the current economic benefits generated by air-passenger, corporate-air, air-cargo services and general aviation, in addition to hosting a range of other businesses not directly related to aviation, which create:
“This report captures the significant economic role that Stockton Airport serves in the Stockton and San Joaquin Valley region,” said Harry Mavrogenes, Airport Director, “and we look forward to continued growth that serves the community.”
That economic impact continues to generate benefits. Stockton Metropolitan Airport issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to developers for an opportunity to build a hotel on Airport property. The site of the hotel, at the southeast corner of Arch Airport Road and B Street, is adjacent to one of the largest and newest conference venues in San Joaquin County, the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center.Ultimately, the goal is to build a hotel that provides conference space within the property so that it augments the nearby conference center. Few hotels were built in San Joaquin County in the last decade, and both demand and rates for existing ones have gone up significantly as the economy has improved.
From the Stockton Metropolitan Airport Staff and County Aviation Advisory Members.