Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport this fall will add a desert destination to the markets it services.
On Nov. 11, Avelo Airlines will launch nonstop flights between the Santa Rosa facility and Palm Springs, airport officials said Aug. 4. The flights will operate twice weekly, on Fridays and Mondays, starting with a $29 introductory one-way fare.
Palm Springs will become the third market for Avelo at the Sonoma County airport. The budget carrier made its debut at the facility in April 2021 with its inaugural route to its Burbank hub, then five months later added a Las Vegas route.
“Palm Springs is one of the markets that has been highly requested from residents,” said Airport Manager Jon Stout. “And it’s a market that we’ve been able to show from a data perspective that there’s a significant demand and it can support service .”
That demand has been there for years, Stout said.
“We have been asking airlines for a number of years, probably six or seven years, about potential interest by them to serve Palm Springs,” he said. “Prior to this point, we had not gotten any airline support.”
Avelo’s target markets tend to be leisure destinations, and Palm Springs fits that profile, he said.
“And from the information we’ve gathered, it appears that there’s a lot of secondary homeownership from Sonoma County and North Bay residents in the Palm Springs area,” Stout said.
James Gore, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said in a press release that “visitors from Southern California will be able to experience all that Sonoma County’s wine country has to offer.”
Stout noted that Avelo has performed well since its arrival to the regional facility and that its commitment to the region continues to grow.
“We’re one of their stronger West Coast markets, and they look favorably upon Santa Rosa,” Stout said. “We also have other markets that we’re talking to them about. … If (Palm Springs) does as well as the other routes, then that could bring other destinations.”
Avelo Airlines’ most recent passenger figures, from June 2022, show the carrier flew 9,175 passengers through the Santa Rosa airport. The airline’s load factor — the measure of how full airplanes are on average — was 59%.
Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and employment. She previously worked for a Gannett daily newspaper in New Jersey and NJBIZ, the state’s business journal. Cheryl has freelanced for business journals in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-4259.