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Establishing and Validating ASD Goals 103 Airside The proposed aircraft must be able to serve the target Santa Rosa and its Horizon Q-400s market while taking into account the runway characteris- Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS) in tics of the airports at both ends of the route. These char- Santa Rosa is the primary commercial airport serv- acteristics include runway length, runway width, runway ing the North Coast region of California. This region load-bearing strength, airfield elevation, and approach includes five counties with an estimated catchment and departure path obstacles. For instance, if one of the area population of over one million residents. runways is relatively short (say, less than 4,500 feet in length such as at Hilton Head Island Airport or Key West Sonoma County Airport had a long history of com- International Airport), then an aircraft with strong short- mercial air service that pre-dated the industry's field performance should be suggested to the airline. deregulation. In the 1990s, United Airlines served While runway characteristics will not be a contentious STS with its Express regional affiliates to both San issue for most airports and routes, it nevertheless needs to Francisco and Los Angeles. Enplanements at the air- be considered. port in 2000 exceeded 64,000. However, United ter- minated all service at the airport in October 2001. From then until 2007, the airport had no service. Summary Sonoma County Airport faced two significant chal- lenges. First, the primary runway is short--5,115 feet ASD goals should be developed with the ongoing involve- long and 150 feet wide. Second, the community is ment of the community and/or a broad-based task force. relatively close to several larger airports with sig- The most common ASD goals are nificantly more nonstop service options, including Retaining existing service service from Southwest Airlines. Oakland Inter- Adding service to a new destination national Airport, San Francisco International Adding frequencies to current services Airport, and Sacramento International Airport are Lowering fares/introducing new competitive service all within roughly 100 miles of STS. Improving service reliability Upgrading aircraft Because of its runway limitations, Sonoma County Increasing access to global networks Airport was restricted to service from turboprop ASD goal-setting should begin with incumbent air- operators. STS successfully recruited Horizon Air to lines; retaining existing service is the top goal for most operate Q-400s at the airport. Horizon launched airports. service in March 2007 to Los Angeles and Seattle. It It is critical to ensure that ASD goals are realistic in light of has since added more frequencies to Los Angeles The service airlines offer to similar communities and Seattle, as well as new destinations--Portland, The strength of the airport's passenger market Oregon, and Las Vegas. The airport manager Aircraft performance characteristics expects total traffic to exceed 200,000 in 2008. Airport infrastructure