County of Humboldt
McKINLEYVILLE – Flight service to southern California will return this summer with new health guidelines to ensure the safety of passengers and airport workers during this difficult time. The daily flight directly to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is scheduled to resume July 6.
The Humboldt County Department of Aviation has experienced an unprecedented drop in passenger traffic in April and May due to impacts from COVID-19. Passenger traffic in April 2020 dropped off 95 percent with only 300 departing passengers and 283 arriving passengers throughout the month. May 2020 traffic was up significantly from April; however, passengers were still down 86 percent from May 2019.
In May 2020, the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport (ACV) saw 975 departing passengers and 898 arriving passengers. This compares to nearly 7,000 departing passengers and nearly 6,900 arriving passengers in May 2019. Passenger numbers through June are continuing to recover slowly with the direct service to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
The LAX flight will depart daily at 2:30 p.m., and arrivals from LAX will come in at 3:31 p.m. Travelers can book their LAX flights right now online at united.com or through their normal reservation methods.
“We’ve been working closely with our Department of Health & Human Services’ Public Health branch and the County’s Emergency Operations Center to make sure we are ready for changes in travel patterns and guidance,” said Cody Roggatz, Director of Aviation. “As regulations and conditions around the state change, we need to adapt as well. In the big picture, this is good news for the community in many ways, and we are keeping safety as the top priority. One important benefit is that the return of the LAX service will provide more efficient means of supporting our medical community through shipment of testing supplies, blood samples, and other critical medical equipment directly to and from LAX.”
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said, “The state is still recommending that people not travel significant distances in order to avoid spread of COVID-19, and locally we are advising that individuals limit their travel in and out of the county. Many areas of the state and country are experiencing more COVID-19 activity than Humboldt and travel is likely to increase one’s risk of exposure, compared to remaining close to home.”
The Humboldt County Department of Aviation has invested significant time, energy, and resources in ensuring the ACV Terminal is safe and clean for the public. Numerous measures have been implemented throughout the Terminal that passengers and patrons will see. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the steps taken to date:
- Installation of Numerous Hand Sanitizing Stations Throughout the Terminal
- Additional Cleaning of Public Use Areas of the Terminal
- New Guidance Signs Throughout the Terminal
- Modified Seating Configuration in the Gate Area to Allow for Social Distancing
- Social Distance Floor Markings at the United Check-In/Ticket Counter and Security Checkpoint
- Sneeze Guards at the United Check-In/Ticket Counter
You can learn about the steps United has taken to improve safety on flights on their website.
“Getting back to a sense of normalcy is going to come in stages, and often there are going to be modifications to the way we used to do things,” said 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass. “Getting the daily LAX flight back is one of those stages that we’re thrilled is opening up. And at the same time, the community needs to really continue to stay committed to staying safe and following the Health Officer’s guidance so we can safely enjoy more of the things we’ve been missing.”
Redwood Region Economic Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Foster said, “We are pleased that United Airlines continues to invest in our community. The return of LAX service will help our businesses and residents by providing an additional travel option. We look forward to re-connecting to the the LAX Market. We urge all to exercise personal responsibility and take all steps to help contain the COVID-19 virus. We continue to explore new opportunities for air service to serve Humboldt County, including the restoration of our service to Denver International Airport.”
To view the Health Officer’s updated travel guidance, visit https://humboldtgov.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2967.
Updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance is available by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html.