Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Given a PowerPoint-aided tour of a proposed $25 million addition to the terminal at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, county supervisors on Tuesday approved of the project that comes with one large catch: it depends on securing a federal grant.
“It is a great airport to fly in and out of,” Board Chairman David Rabbitt said, noting it is “easy to park” and “people are friendly.”
“What you do there is so important for this county,” Supervisor Susan Gorin told the tour guide, Airport Manager Jon Stout.
Gorin personally values the United Airlines service to Denver started in March, facilitating visits to and from her grandchildren, 18 months and 4 years old.
But the airport, which started commercial service with about 109,000 passengers in 2007, is a bit of a victim of its own success, measured by carrying more than 440,000 passengers last year and nearly 90,000 in the first three months of this year.
The 15,000-square-foot terminal is already congested at peak midday hours, and the crowding will get worse as summer arrives with as many as 17 flights a day, Stout said.
There will be four flights in some two-hour periods, funneling up to 600 people through the terminal that houses airline ticket counters, baggage collection and various kiosks.
The proposed 30,000-square-foot expansion would include a two-lane passenger checkpoint, up to 350 seats, new restrooms, four more ticket counters, a new concession area and a larger “meet-and-greet” area for welcoming incoming passengers, Stout said.