CHICO, Calif. - Commercial air service could be coming back to the Chico Airport, according to Public Works.
However, it does depend on the success of a couple of programs the city is now working to roll down the runway. Both of the programs are tied to reassuring airlines that Chico has customers ready and willing to pay for flights.
Airline travel bank
The first program is an airline travel bank. Businesses and anyone interested in supporting commercial air service will pledge funds that are deposited in the air travel bank. That money is then held by a commercial bank and monitored by the city.
Travel bank participants get a credit card that is used to purchase tickets on partner airlines flying out of Chico.
"[It] perked a lot of interest with airlines," said Erik Gustafson, Chico's director of Public Works. "I think Chico is on the map, but of course there are no commitments at this point and we are still having aggressive conversations making airlines know that we are here, we are open for business, and we want to do everything possible to get commercial air service back to Chico."
Revenue guarantee fund
The other program to attract commercial flights is a revenue guarantee fund.
The fund consists of money that a partner airline can dip into if the airline is losing money operating flights out of Chico.
The city is now raising money for that fund and plans to commit $100,000. The goal is to raise a total of $1 million from local businesses and other avenues over the next several years.
Airport Manager Sherry Miller said that both American and United Airlines are interested in serving Chico.
However, a revenue guarantee program must first be in place to make that happen.