Humboldt County Airport welcomes first non-stop service flight from LAX

United Airlines began offering daily non-stop service from Humboldt County to Los Angeles Thursday. The first flight touched down on the runway at the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport around 9:30 a.m.

According to the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission, United will provide two non-stop flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport on a daily basis - one flight departing from the Arcata-Eureka Airport, and one arriving there. The service will be offered on a 50-seat CRJ regional jet, and flight times are expected to last around two hours for both arrivals and departures.

"We've been working with United for years," Redwood Region Economic Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Foster said. "We had to get to the point where their needs and our needs really aligned in terms of the service we could support and want, and the service that made sense for them on a business case."

Foster says the service expands Humboldt County's reach for business ventures and exposes them to new opportunities.

"The southern California market is important because there is so many people just in southern California," Foster said. "LA's not just a hub, it's also going to open up that market for us. It makes it a lot more convenient for the business traveler, certainly a lot more convenient for the leisure traveler. For example, the film commission has been very supportive of this, and they were able to bring up folks from the film industry very conveniently."

Humboldt County District Four Supervisor Virginia Bass is optimistic the new service will help the county's tourism industry, too.

"Obviously, we have people from here who want to go to Disneyland, but we're an amazing place in Humboldt County, too," Bass said. "We'll be working with folks, I'm sure with the airlines too, and hopefully perhaps LAX itself, to really come up with what that looks like and how we get people to come here. There's a lot to come here for. It's just letting people know it's easier to get here than it was before."

Both Foster and Bass hope this breakthrough will make it easier to get to other places from Humboldt as well.

"We never stop working to try to get more destinations," Foster said. "Our next goal is one to the east into a hub airport, so we continue to talk to the airlines about that, and make the business case why we think that would work for them."

"We just have to get more people flying from here and not driving to fly out of other airports," Bass said. "That's the biggest thing we can do to support this service, is to fly on it."

A small ceremony featuring a ribbon cutting was held in the Arcata-Eureka Airport lobby to celebrate the beginning of the daily non-stop service.

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