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SkyWest adds Oxnard to nixed flights

By   /   Tuesday, March 16th, 2010  /   Comments Off on SkyWest adds Oxnard to nixed flights

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After raising fares in the face of declining passenger numbers, SkyWest is cancelling its flight from Oxnard to LAX starting in June.

The 20-minute connection to one of the nation’s largest airports has been a mainstay for Ventura County business and government passengers looking to cut down time and hassle getting to Los Angeles. Without the flight, Ventura County will have no commercial airline service, though airport officials say they are working to attract a new carrier who could fly to other Western cities.

The cancellation of the Oxnard-LAX connection comes just after SkyWest, the regional airline that operates United Airlines’ flights in Oxnard, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, announced it is cutting its only direct route between Santa Barbara and San Jose.

United Airlines spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said the last flight from Oxnard is slated for June 8.

“It’s not economically feasible for us to keep operating this flight at this time,” Urbanski told the Business Times. “Both United and SkyWest conducted a very thorough analysis for an extended period of time before making this difficult decision.”

At the Oxnard airport, commercial passenger traffic dropped from 21,500 in 2007 to 12,000 in 2009, said Todd McNamee, director of airports for Ventura County.

“The fare structure was such that a lot of people weren’t using [the LAX flight] because the fare was substantially higher than if they were just to fly out of LAX,” McNamee told the Business Times. “The Navy, who was one of the largest customers for the flight of out Oxnard, stopped using it about a year ago.”

McNamee said he’s working to draw other carriers to Oxnard who could fly to cities such as Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver and Sacramento.

“The economic demographics are as good [in Ventura County] as Santa Barbara, or better,” McNamee said. “The market is there, and it’s just a matter of finding the right service at the right price.”

A SkyWest spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on March 16.

[Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original posting with comments from a United Airlines spokeswoman.]

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