The first scheduled passenger flights landed at and departed from San Bernardino International Airport Thursday, Aug. 4, a landmark moment for the former Norton Air Force Base.
The airport and Breeze Airways, which in March announced the partnership, spared no expense celebrating the occasion.
Arriving travelers on Flight 603 out of San Francisco touched down shortly before noon and received a hero’s welcome inside the Leland Norton Terminal. All guests received a goodie bag with various airplane trinkets, as well as cake and cookies.
Dozens of local dignitaries partook in the festivities.
Sergio Rosales, a 29-year-old by way of Provo, Utah, booked seats for him and his wife on the inaugural flight out of the Beehive State into San Bernardino.
The two plans to spend the weekend in Big Bear with family.
Rosales recommended the flight staff and overall experience.
“A real nice, easy flight,” he said.
Less than two hours later, departing Flight 602 was bound for the Bay Area.
“This is a big boon for the community,” Mayor John Valdivia, who bought four tickets for the inaugural flight for him and his family, said before takeoff.
Currently, residents in the San Bernardino Valley must make their way east to the Palm Springs International Airport or west to Ontario International Airport for their air travel needs.
In an interview Thursday, Colton Mayor Frank Navarro, president of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority, welcomed all those in the area who want a more convenient option.
“This is a dream and a vision and a plan coming to fruition,” he said. , giving them another option to travel.
“You can take a breather to San Francisco, then the world is open to you.”
San Bernardino International Airport Authority officials have been working for years to bring commercial passenger service to town.
While flights between San Bernardino and Mexico were supposed to begin in summer 2017, those plans never took off.
Breeze, however, could not be a better fit for the airport, said Michael Burrows, executive director of the airport authority.
“As others see how Breeze works at SBD,” he added, “hopefully they’ll come join us as well. That’s what this whole thing is about. Convenient, cost-effective but friendly travel options for this community that’s waited so long to have air service.”