SLO Airport manager Kevin Bumen confirms the airport is talking to Alaska Airlines about beginning flights “to a new city” from SLO. “We are cautiously optimistic but the airline has made no announcement” cautions Bumen who has been meeting with Alaska representatives for several months.
Alaska Airlines is the seventh-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic with most of their flights on the West Coast. Headquartered in Seattle, Alaska carries more passengers between the state of Alaska and the Lower 48 than any other airline.
The betting is that SLO could be connected to a city to the north or west – perhaps Salt Lake, Sacramento, Oakland, Portland or Seattle with regular fights.
Also this week the airport reported passenger traffic for the first 6 months of 2014 – up 14.1% so far this year compared to the same period a year ago.
Bumen says traffic was impacted in June by flight cancelations to SF due to construction there with June increases held to 10.5% in part due to the SF situation.
The region is served by United and US Air (now American Air) connecting to LA,SF and Phoenix.
SLO’s growing reputation as a high tech hub may be fueling interest to connect to other West Coast technology centers like Seattle. The fastest growing companies in SLO now include Mind Body, Digital West and Rosetta, all nourished by affiliations with CalPoly University and the talent that it generates.Over 40% of our population age 25 and above holds a college degree or higher.
No wonder CNN reported SLO one of the 100 best places to live saying “San Luis Obispo is wired in more ways than one: The area’s fiber optic lines create superior connectivity. Not surprisingly, high tech businesses flourish, as well as engineering and architecture firms.”
This month news came out that San Luis Obispo County ranked among the top 10 in the nation for job growth for millennial workers aged 22 to 34, according to a recent analysis of 175 metro areas across the country. According to Career Builder website reported in the Tribune “In individual industries, SLO County performed best in mathematics and computer occupations and production and manufacturing occupations, posting the second highest growth rate for millennials in both industries.
According to the data, the number of millennials in computer and mathematical occupations in the county grew by 39.1 percent. Only one other metro area — Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, S.C. — had more growth, adding 39.7 percent more millennials in the computer and mathematics industry.”
As for Alaska Airlines Yahoo Finance released a report recently predicting the independent airline might be acquired noting that” Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.”