SLO County airport working to add flights to 3 new cities

What do Dallas, Portland and San Diego have in common?

You may be able to fly to all three locations directly from the San Luis Obispo County airport as soon as early next year.

“We’ve had good conversations about these destinations, but there’s been no commitment,” Craig Piper, deputy director of SLO County airports, told The Tribune. “We’re very optimistic about our opportunities and possibilities.”

Airport officials have strong numbers to back up the pitch to airlines to increase services, the number of passengers traveling through the new terminal continues to grow, and the airport was recently named one of the fastest growing in North America.

In 2017, the number of passengers traveling through SLO rose 23 percent, to a record-breaking total of 407,646.

That year was a “transformative” one, county director of airports Kevin Bumen said last month.

The airport introduced service to Denver via United Airlines and Seattle via Alaska Airlines, and added another fourth daily United Airlines flight to San Francisco. Then, in November, the new $39.5 million terminal opened.

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A second daily flight to and from Denver was added this April. The airport also offers flights to Los Angeles and Phoenix.

All of these improvements have come with one traveler’s woe: parking.

Piper admitted that parking is an issue, especially in October and November, which are the busiest months of the year.

The county has contracted with a consultant to perform a parking study that could lead to improvement projects, like a parking garage.

Monica Vaughan: 805-781-7930; @MonicaLVaughan
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