Delta Airlines is giving up on the Arcata-Eureka airport. A press release from the Humboldt County Department of Public Works this afternoon announced the bad news.
The Atlanta-based carrier started twice-daily regional service from here to Salt Lake City, Utah, just 15 months ago. They were enticed here via a concerted effort from the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission -- an effort that included $500,000 in Headwaters Fund-backed revenue guarantees for the first year of service as well as several hundred thousand dollars worth of pre-purchased travel from local businesses.
Delta ultimately lost money during its first year of service, and so the $500,000 in Headwaters Fund money essentially disappeared. "Well, that depends on how you look at it," said RREDC Executive Director Gregg Foster. "Either it disappeared or it got us 15 months of service."
Foster attributed Delta's decision to structural changes at Delta and to the fact that "they just don't get the local market here." In June of last year, citing the slow economy, Delta half-bailed on us, announcing it would suspend service during the fall and winter.
Now they're gone completely and indefinitely. Foster said Delta officials ignored advice on how to make the most of our local market, instead focusing only on the red ink on the bottom line. Delta did ask for local airport officials to continue providing them with passenger data and other market info, but I wouldn't suggest holding your breath.