Redding Trying for More Flights, Storage Wars Humboldt Style, and “The Country of the Year”

REDDING WANTS FLIGHTS-  Redding airport officials and civic leaders, including representatives of the mega- Bethel Church,  have met or are scheduled to meet with representatives of United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, American, Delta and Alaska Air with an eye to restoring direct service to LA perhaps as soon as this summer. Shasta County has built up a nonbinding travel bank of $1M and Modesto is hurrying to do the same. Now is the time to start pushing for schedule changes because SFO will be losing one of its runways for several months  due to repairs. Note to self: avoid SFO during that time.  Everyone wants the LAX routes.

The Bethel Church in Redding welcomes 12,000 visitors a year,  many of whom come in by air, but many more of whom come by car from Sacramento or SF. The church has basically taken over their Civic Auditorium. and is a major player in the Redding economy. Think of  all the rental cars and hotel rooms! That’s like 3 or 4 Jazz Festivals.  We’ll bring you an update soon on local efforts to to bring us more service through ACV.  Sorry, I can’t remember the six-word name they want us to call it. I figure this, too, shall pass.

 STORAGE WARS, HUMBOLDT STYLE- A couple of weeks ago I showed up at one of those storage locker sales you see listed in the Times-Standard.  I wanted to see it if in anyway resembled what you see on TV.  The sale was at the Myrtle Avenue Storage Center, the one across the street from John’s Liquors and the taco truck whose name I can never recall but which serves darn good food. A group of about 20 folks were waiting for the sale which was advertised as five units but had shrunk to two by the time of the opening bid.  The facility manager, Chris Mikkelson, went over the rules and then led the folks who were interested to a second-level unit. They trooped upstairs and came back down pretty fast. The upstairs unit went for $25.

Then we went to inspect the other unit. It was PACKED, I mean really PACKED, to the gills. Anyone who claims they  can tell what’s in one of these has got to be psychic.  All I could see was the ends of boxes.  The second unit went for $25 dollars. The bidding was not as fast or frantic as they try to make it sound ; I didn’t have any trouble following it. Also the successful bidders were given till the end of the next day to vacate the locker.  Very civilized, as I had envisioned a frantic race to truck everything out immediately.

Mr Mikkelson told me that these units are very seldom vacant and are mostly rented by people in the neighborhood, which cuts down on the number of abandoned units. Anyway, if you have a truck and want to try your luck watch for the ads. This particular facility is a Kurt Kramer property  and immaculately maintained. I don’t think they all are. When I get a chance to follow a winning bidder through the whole process, I’ll report back but I don’t think any fortunes were made the other day.  Good excuse for a taco, though.

“COUNTRY OF THE YEAR” – Well, there’s nothing like losing a contest you didnt’ even know they were having. The Economist has named as it’s “Country of the Year” a place that is dealing with some of the same issues that the Redwood Coast is. This country has legalized gay marriage and drugs -ALL drugs- in the last few months.  It’s 3M citizens don’t make the news very often and on the map it looks like a sort of tumor growing out of the top of its neighbor, Argentina. Yes, I’m talking about- wait for it-URUGUAY.  We might do well to observe the effects of legalization there, if there are any. If anyone is organizing a field trip, let me know. 

10 thoughts on “Redding Trying for More Flights, Storage Wars Humboldt Style, and “The Country of the Year”

  1. $486 RDD to SFO, three flights per day of the 30-seat turboprop that Embraer stopped making 13 years ago, “Probably the closest to a modern replacement for the DC-3.” The real action is with 14 passenger vans operated by first class shuttle out of Redding with stops in Red Bluff, Corning, Orland and Willows up to four times per day 365/yr. to Sacramento’s SMF, sometimes with more than one van departing simultaneously from Oxford Suites. SMF has
    Aeromexico | (800) 237.6639 | http://www.aeromexico.com
    Alaska Airlines | (800) 426.0333 | http://www.alaskaair.com
    American Airlines | (800) 433.7300 | http://www.aa.com
    Hawaiian Airlines | (800) 367.5320 | http://www.hawaiianair.com
    Horizon Air | (800) 547.9308 | http://www.alaskaair.com
    Southwest Airlines | (800) 435.9792 | http://www.iflyswa.com
    Volaris Airlines | (866) 988.3527 | http://www.volaris.mx
    Delta Air Lines | (800) 221.1212 | http://www.delta.com
    JetBlue | (800) 538.2583 | http://www.jetblue.com
    United Airlines/United Express | (800) 241.6522 | http://www.ual.com
    US Airways | (800) 428.4322 | http://www.usairways.com

    Gary M. Pomerantz, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, book on what happens when a prop blade comes off an EMB-120. Title reflects how long it took to crash and burn. Amazon for less than $8 incl. shipping. Fourth degree burns to the bone.

    Medford (MFR)—Commercial air service is provided by Alaska/Horizon Air; United Airlines; Delta Air Lines; and Allegiant Air. These carriers offer approximately 60 arriving and departing flights daily to and from San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. MFR enplanes over 300K.

    Arcata enplaned a drop of over 12% from 70K to less than 62K 2011 to 2012. Redding dropped 24% 2011 to 2012, from 38K to 29K enplanement.
    http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/media/CY12CommercialServiceEnplanements.pdf
    STS (Snoopy Sonoma enplaned 102K to 105K, a gain of 3% 2011 to 2012.

    As to the name change the FAA has yet to receive an “official” name change request from the County. The FAA wasn’t right on the spelling of Humboldt (not Humbolt) and they aren’t even sure of the airports current name it seems (is it the Arcata Airport or Arcata-Eureka Airport?). The Humboldt County Aviation Advisory Committee Minutes of 9/24/2013 indicate that the Public Works Director/Acting Airport Manager did not attend. The update on “Fly Humboldt” indicated that the County decided to not attend an airline recruitment conference “due to some passenger traffic data that the airlines are requesting that will not be available in time” per Aviation management. A Board member that has ACV in his district in an interview with KINS radio indicated they have done all they can do as to airline recruitment. Think again. No airline is going to want to come to ACV and have it singlehandedly destroy their on time/delay/cancellation statistics. I remember a car rental shuttle driver turning to me decades ago and wanted to know what is it about Arcata, that we had more cancellations at SFO than all other airports combined. I would really like to spend my weight in silver like the rest of Arcata in Mazatlan. Back before ATMs and having to cash travelers checks, the kiosk operator wanted to know how come so may were from Arcata. My sister and her husband are bailing tomorrow from Minnesota to MZT to visit dad on his golf course condo. Nice nonstop four hour flight on a Delta airbus 320 including all inclusive on the Playa for $1,100 per week. I checked UAL and Kayak and neither had any flight from ACV to MZT available SA to SA on those dates.

    Given a push, we could have reliability with fog buster 0.25 runway visual range landings. It seems a hanger is in the way (the County failed to collect rent on, and now the Division finds itself hundreds of thousands of dollars in arrears). Basically the Board declared last year Aviation’s chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization by laying off 5 workers, making the span of control issues worse than hideous (the ratio of managers and supervisors to workers). The change in the ILS (instrument landing system) from CAT one to CAT two would require a cooperative program between the FAA, airport and airline. We have no one on the ground at ACV with air traffic control since the FAA closed the Flight Service Station. I would start by putting in a taxiway centerline lighting system to help the aircraft find their way on the airfield in dense fog.

    The problem with ACV, RDD and CEC (Crescent City) is unreliability due to cancellations and delays caused in part by SFO refusing to pave the bay and provide runway separation for simultaneous ILS approaches. CEC went from 15K to 13K enplanements from 2011 to 2012, a drop of 16% (figures rounded), despite having a stellar Fed funded full court press marketing program. In all likelihood, before CEC gets their airfield fixes and then their terminal building built, if they lose Federal essential air service funding empty seats, they will lose all air service. No airline currently can afford to fly a plane half empty what with the current price of jet “A” quadrupling in recent years. ACV charges a buck more per gallon than any other airport within a hundred miles.

    I did write to SkyWest and in direct response to my challenge (in my dreams and letter) that they come up with a vision for the long in the tooth replacement for the EMB-120s, they ordered and have options on 600 new aircraft entering service this decade. I would like to see at a minimum these new aircraft freeing up an EMB-120 nonstop north to either Medford and/or Portland, Oregon, so we don’t have to first fly south to go north. Currently these size new aircraft are first being placed at the larger airports.

    Meanwhile, the CAO seems to think the gutted Aviation trust fund for hangars and fuel equipment are good to go for the short term, missing the point that the fuel trust fund was to fund big ticket items like fuel farms, tanks and trucks. Further, if the new hangars at ACV are not fully rented out this year, that trust fund will collapse the foundation built upon smoke and mirrors. It has gotten so bad already that the County is asking the hangar tenants to do their own repairs. The County gutted the hanger trust fund on a deposit to build the new hangers at ACV while spending the majority of this fund on the maintenance of existing hangers.

    Aviation management wasted a lot of valuable time thinking the FAA could violate it’s own rules as to using their 750K slush fund not available a second time for the LAX run. Remember they want their money to go for a flight east.

    Horizon meanwhile has ordered three new aircraft. Going to San Diego instead of LAX would be a dead end with ½ to 1/3 third of the LAX/ACV demand. STS:
    Top Business Routes, December 2011-December 2012
    Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
    1 Los Angeles, CA 55,000 Alaska
    2 Seattle, WA 26,000 Alaska
    3 Portland, OR 24,000 Alaska
    4 San Diego, CA 14,000 Alaska
    We have flown Snoopy’s airport (STS) to/from STS to LAX and back from San Diego. It is a very scenic flight. Shortly after STS departure you get a good view of the desert that is CA.

    As regards runways under construction at SFO, the details are available at:
    http://www.flysfo.com/media/press-releases/final-phase-sfo-runway-safety-area-construction-project-planned-summer-2014
    or
    http://www.flysfo.com/about-sfo/airport-development/runway

    They say “RSA construction is not expected to cause any flight cancellations in 2014.” – See more at: http://www.flysfo.com/about-sfo/airport-development/runway#sthash.zw2xdbbo.dpuf
    This runway safety area improvement now on the cross-runways is similar to what was done at ACV. I have yet to find a period of good weather at ACV, as periods of fog occur fall, winter and spring in addition to summer. You can check this at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=eka&sid=KACV&num=72&raw=0
    ACV is currently below minimums, at 0.25, so SkyWest/United Express can’t get a clearance to land. I have seen days where six out of seven flights cancelled (86%), not including CEC and SMF flights to/from ACV. Hours of delay causing missed connections are common. Good luck rebooking if subsequent flights are full.

    Modesto enplaned a drop of 21%, from 2011 19K to 2012 15K. The top ten airports in CA enplane more than one million passengers each. LAX and SFO on average enplane daily what ACV enplanes in a year. MOD has three EMB-120 Brasilia made by Embraer SW/UE flights per day to SFO, just like RDD. CEC/SFO has two of these.

    http://www.jetfuelprice.com/ca/acv-arcata-eureka-ca-airport/

    For a comparison of our fuel prices compared to surrounding airports. We are above $7 per gallon; all others are in the $5 to $6 range.

    The CAO in budget documents online last year gave a low priority to Aviation. The TSA demands are burdensome. We had 7 security personnel screening our 14 passengers on our last flight out of ACV on SW/UE. Horizon felt comfortable using the TSA and the HCSO deputy to enforce their baggage fee collection. I would rather drive to SF and take a roundtrip Princess Cruise available year around to Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska or the CA coast. There is a drive/park hotel that will keep your vehicle free for 14 days per hotel stay. I would rather hit the Petaluma factory outlet mall, Trader Joes in Santa Rosa, Big Lots and Home Depot in Ukiah, and the Peg House busting through the redwood curtain than pay $690 for an ACV/SFO fight. With a stop in SMF they want $848.

      • Redding was flat turned down after a several decades’ effort by United to get a flight east to Denver in June of 2013. “I am speculating … but if they go to L.A., they would bypass a United hub they are already serving to San Francisco,” Dinger said. Per Redding.com 2/2013
        Redding wanted to use a $500,000 federal grant to subsidize that service. The package proposed to United included waiving landing fees the first year ($17,000 to $38,000 depending on number of flights), approximately $120,000 in marketing and a travel bank in excess of $500,000. “So I think the problem is not demand, the problem is consistent service, and we have not had that for a number of years.”

        http://www.redding.com/news/2012/sep/14/attracting-airlines-isnt-easy-in-small-cities/

        A key word search at a newspaper site such as redding.com yield the history of this roller coaster ride, including:

        In 2001: An agreement between United Airlines and its pilots cleared the way for SkyWest Airlines to offer nonstop jet service from Redding to Denver. While SkyWest will make the decision as to when jets will start serving Redding, Rod Dinger, airports manager, said he hopes it will happen in 2001.

        Redding just got their new terminal expansion, in a process that saw their flights drop from 5 to 3.

        Santa Rosa has poor infrastructure in their runways and terminal building, with a postage stamp ramp.

        Bethel was a story in 2012.

        We were not satisfied when we had nonstop flights to SFO, CEC, SMF, LAX, and north out of state. We picked a destination (Delta/SLC) that was not in the top twenty.

        We had a flight every hour for twenty hours with UE. Then Horizon came and cannibalized UE. Then we gave a deal to Delta, operated by SW/UE, and they took advantage of a winner take all contract when they ran one passenger short per flight after tipping off the travel agents. Horizon took steps to pull out of flights north, then LAX.

        Maybe that ancient Chinese curse (may you get what you think you want) will be invoked when and if we do attract a new destination. Waving all fees the FAA will allow us, we act like the services waived are free (terminal building rent, landing fees, fuel flowage and ramp parking). All of these take men and equipment, time and money. The County maintains the bathrooms, lights the runway, taxiway and ramp, and provides clean and dry fuel. We laid off our one airport groundskeeper, three airport service workers and a custodian or two. We laid off only workers, and kept all of the supervisors and management. Perhaps we should go to an organization chart that includes the hiring of an airport manager/operations supervisor that is a pilot. Someone that understands the need to light the cross-runway in a howling wind at night in a timely manner.

        A 2003 marketing survey found that only 42 percent of the people flying out of the six-county area served by the Redding airport used the facility. The rest opted to drive to Sacramento or other airports, seeking better prices or more direct flights, Dinger (RDD airport manager) said. At these prices, even a tribe is going to carpool. People are finding alternatives. The very airline that killed the market will be the airline to turn us down

        • You obviously have incredible background on this. I just subscribed to Redding.com; we’ll see if it’s worth the $5 month. The online papers are often inferior to the print. I’m still thinking the answer is a reliable shuttle to RDD. As you point out, once you’re in Sac there are lots of connections.

          • Some thoughts on our economy:

            Timber: The County headwaters slush fund of government money handed the billionaire Gap and Simpson families $750K to fight off the full page ads in magazines like Sunset of beautiful synthetic wood decks. Hardwoods like IPE and plastic encapsulated wood do not need painting every three years. Lots of rot with our wood lumber used in housing, from personal experience. We are starting to use the copper coated treated lumber. Hopefully it is safer than the arsenic.

            Fishing: While at the City of Eureka marina I observed yesterday after a very touching memorial for the Fieldbrook Goat cheese Dutch magnate spouse, a lot of run down recreation and rotten commercial fishing boats. The nicest boat was Baykeepers, who just went the equivalent of chapter 11. The bay at low tide is strewn with abandoned piers and tires sunk half in the mud. Seems the crab season was short lived. Some of these boats look half sunk under the history of salmon fishing moratoriums. Most of these boats in this marina look abandoned.

            Pot: The City of Arcata managed to drive out 85% of the heavy electricity indoor grow houses, dropping from 633 to 96 exceeding the 600 percent of normal Pacific Electricity use with a 45% tax.

            Directly correlated to our plummet in the micro economic unit of Arcata/Eureka/Fortuna is the price per pound of pot. Per RREDC: “Yes, we’re in the top 15% in the country. We’re not just bragging, we’ve got data to back it up. Each year, Policom Inc. compiles economic and demographic data on 576 “micropolitan” areas in the United States. Since 2006, our community has ranked in the top 15%. Check out the ratings here.”

            I guess they are betting on the airlines being stupid. We are in fact not in the top 25% since 2012. We are worse off than we were in 2004.

            Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna, CA (McrSA)

            2013—147
            2012—137
            2011—79
            2010—49
            2009—45
            2008—33
            2007—21
            2006—39
            2005—81
            2004—137

            Looks like in 2012 and 2004 we were not in the top 25%. My guess is the price of pot per pound peaked in 2007, at what we used to call lawyer bud. Now, it might be hard to sell even priced below $1,000 per pound.

            Looks like we are headed back to the top industry being government.

            All of the major population centers in CA are in elevated to critical fire weather today, MN/1/13/2014. The airlines, flying at stall speed, are one Icelandic volcano or other disaster from being grounded. In this history of aviation, overall, no one has made any money in this industry. And now, with the rise of the middle class driving cars in markets like India and China, the price of oil seems unlikely to fall.

            Fuel is often an airline’s largest expense, accounting for as much as a third of operating costs. Carriers have focused on reducing consumption by replacing older aircraft with more-efficient models, adding special wing tips to reduce drag, installing lighter-weight seats and removing unused galleys.

            Lower fuel expenses have helped send the Bloomberg U.S. airlines index up as much as 83 percent in 2013 to a six-year high Nov. 4. The slide in prices comes as advances in drilling techniques have unlocked oil from shale formations, lifting domestic crude production to the highest in almost 25 years and allowing refiners to run at record levels. Exports of the fuel hit a high in August. A slowdown in the US economy does not seem to translate to a drop in world crude prices.

            It will be interesting to see how Delta does with it’s own jet “A” refinery and a domestic source of crude oil. Jet “A” prices have quadrupled in the last ten years, leading to Mike Boyd’s famous quote about the 50 seat RJ’s we were betting on being parked and their skin turned into aluminum cans: Google search:

            Coming to a beer can (end of 50 seat jets) [Archive] – Airline …
            http://www.airlinepilotforums.com › … › Airline Pilot Forums › Regional‎
            Sep 3, 2010 – 46 posts – ‎29 authors
            [Archive] Coming to a beer can (end of 50 seat jets) Regional. … “The next stop is the Budweiser factory because that’s all they’re good for.” …. He has been predicting the death of the RJ for so long now, that eventually he has …
            Airline Era Ends as Carriers Cull 50-Seat Jets `Nobody Wants …

            http://www.bloomberg.com/…/airline-era-ends-as-carriers-cull-50-seat…‎
            by Mary Jane Credeur
            Sep 3, 2010 – The 50-seat jets once prized by carriers such as Delta Air Lines Inc. are … “The next stop is the Budweiser factory because that’s all they’re good for. … 2, up 39 percent from 2009, airlines favor regional jets that can carry 70 or …

            Looks like heating a hot tub with PG&E electricity, triggering a doubling at the tier, or fueling an airline, is now a luxury, what with a 4 fold increase in ten years in the price of jet “A”.

            Kinda like running a houseboat company on an empty reservoir. Do we have the population to fill the small first class section of the new 70 seat category RJ? Or will we drive out the millionaires from California with targeted taxes?

            Drink the Kool-Aid or

            No cheap jet “A” cannot fly

            Ignorance is fly

            Haiku—worst ever.

          • This is probably going to be out of sequence because I can’t figure out how to “reply” with no box. Yes, we are having a lousy crab season. The two I bought at Murphy’s yesterday looked like they’d starved to death. What index do those #s per year reflect? Were you on the aviation advisory committee that I think was recently disbanded?

  2. The packed locker went for $25? Not a typo? I attended one of these sales around 2002 and none of the lockers went for lest than $125, and all looked like garbage to me. I’m surprised neatly packed stuff in boxes only went for $25.

    I expect the upstairs locker that was sparse was simply emptied of valuables by the renter when he realized he wouldn’t be able to continue paying the rental fee. So the packed locker is someone who didn’t pull the valuables first.

    That said, I’ve attended plenty of garage sales held by people who buy these storage lockers. I don’t envy the crap they get stuck taking to the dump.

    • No, not a typo. The “yuck” factor and having to have a truck available has been a deterrent to me. Never realized that they get rid of the stuff with garage sales. That explains a lot. Thanks for writing!

      • Well, I said I’ve attended their garage sales. I didn’t say they get rid of that junk. One guy near me held held the same sale at least four weekends this past summer, always selling the same junk.

        I believe their first choice is to sell small valuable items on eBay, and resell the other semi-valuable stuff at local flea markets. The real junk ends up at garage sales.

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