Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rocky start can’t keep the airport down

The good news is that PenAir’s inaugural flight from Humboldt County to Portland, Oregon, went off without a hitch on Thursday.

The flight back to McKinleyville, not so much.

PenAir’s Flight 181 encountered maintenance problems above the skies of southern Oregon, forcing the Alaska carrier to turn the plane around and return to Portland. Passengers eventually were back on their way to Humboldt County aboard another plane that had to be brought up from Aurora, 10 miles south.

The delay? Nearly six hours. While some passengers were understanding — safety comes first, last and in between — others voiced frustration not uncommonly heard from travelers longing to fly to and from Humboldt County in a timely fashion.

We understand those concerns — one of our own reporters was aboard Flight 181, and could have used those hours spent waiting on the eventual flight out of Portland covering other stories closer to home. But the occasional hitch doesn’t change our strong support for expanded airline service in and out of Humboldt County.

Not only is that service crucial to the continued growth and health of Humboldt County’s economy, but PenAir is the first airline to add service to our regional airport in McKinleyville in nearly five years. The occasional hiccup won’t change the basic math behind incentivizing more carriers to bring their business to Humboldt County: The more we fly, the more flights will be made available to us. And vice versa.

So, rough start or no, the show must go on. We welcome PenAir to Humboldt County with open arms.

Side note

You’ll notice we’ve tiptoed around the official name of our regional airport. That’s because “California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport” is an abomination that never should have been allowed to escape the underground marketing lab in which it was unnaturally ushered into existence by committee.

No one calls the airport in McKinleyville formerly designated as the Eureka/Arcata airport the “California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport.” The new name’s got enough syllables to choke a boa constrictor. It won’t fit in a headline in newsprint or online, and it doesn’t so much roll off the tongue as much as it ties it into knots.

It doesn’t even lend itself to a decent acronym: CRCHCA, what is that? Cucaracha? Chewbacca? We defy anyone to use it in a sentence and keep a straight face. Maybe you can do it while singing: C-R-C, H-C-A, M-O-U-S-E?

We love our airport. It deserves better than this.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.times-standard.com

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