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City of Chico fighting to bring back commercial flights

The city applied for a federal grant to cover the cost of unsold tickets for the first couple of years if a carrier agrees to sign on.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 4:54 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2019 9:02 AM

CHICO, Calif.- "Sometimes I feel like it alters my life plans. I think, 'oh I would take this trip but I'd have to take this leg to that leg'," said Linda Rogers.

When the Chico Airport stopped offering commercial flights in 2014, Chico resident Linda Rogers was crushed.

She loves to travel, except for the first leg of the trip down to Sacramento.

"You have the farm traffic, these little towns .. the congestion is just brutal. I just had an extra hour added onto my trip just coming back this weekend from the airport," Rogers said.

Rogers is thrilled that the city of Chico is fighting to bring back commercial flights.

The city's asked the FAA for half a million dollars they can offer airlines as an insurance plan. If tickets don't sell in the first year or so, the city will cover the cost.

"I think we won't ever have to pay that difference - we have more people here, more people flying for business than we used to," Rogers said.

But, not everyone in the North State wants to pay the higher rates, have a smaller selection of flight times, or even fly at all.

"If there was a circumstance that required us to be there in a timely manner, but otherwise we drive. It's a long 8 hours but we spend that time as a family," said Ed Jauregui, who lives in Chico.

Even the less enthusiastic commuters say the grant may be a great way to get an airline carrier to give Chico another shot.

"Sometimes you gotta show up and put in the time before you can get anything going, it might give the industry time to get started," Jauregui said.

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The weather around most of California heated quite a bit on Thursday, and much hotter weather is ahead. An Excessive Heat Warning is now in effect from Friday through next Wednesday.
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