United set to start Palmdale service

first_img“You have to take that into consideration with the arithmetic,” Thorpe said. After years of false starts and dashed hopes of establishing air service in Palmdale, airport supporters think they have a winning combination this time – a major airline, jets instead of turboprop aircraft, and a hub with connections to 67 different cities – 21 of them international destinations. “It’s a different product we’re offering people,” Thorpe said. “The service will be the same as the major airports.” Targeting business A big issue for United’s success will be whether it can attract business travelers, particularly the military and aerospace companies that make up the region’s biggest industry. That segment represents about 29percent to 32percent of the region’s potential market. “They will succeed on the patronage of the military and aerospace companies,” Thorpe said. “It’s the right plane, the right product and right airline to match the needs of the business traveler.” Los Angeles World Airports and Palmdale are in the midst of a $700,000 marketing blitz targeting an audience between Ridgecrest and the Santa Clarita Valley and between Gorman and the western edges of San Bernardino County. LAWA is planning to reach out to potential travelers through a mix of traditional advertising – TV, radio and newspaper – and newer and nontraditional advertising, such as Web sites and ads on parking-space stripes. Open house Tuesday “We’ve got a huge investment in this,” Thorpe said. “We’re committed to making this a viable market for air service.” Part of that effort is a community open house scheduled from 9:30a.m. to 12:30p.m. Tuesday at the airport terminal, located at 41000 20th Street E., north of Rancho Vista Boulevard. Visitors will see a revamped terminal building that – with the exception of one year during which Nevada-based Scenic Airline flew out of Palmdale – has been inactive since 1998. Just inside the terminal’s sliding doors is a sign featuring Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, which proclaims the airport is “The Antelope Valley’s Connection to the World.” Work on the terminal includes fresh slurry on the parking lot and entrance road, new landscaping, revamped restrooms, new water fountains, remodeled ticket counters, refurbishment of the airport monument sign, as well as lighting and electrical improvements, said Bob Gluck, superintendent of maintenance. “It’s about 95 percent done,” Gluck said. “The rest will be done by United.” Whether the airport ever attracts another airline is largely going to depend on United’s success, airport backers said. “Everybody is watching,” Thorpe said. “If United does well, that will market itself to the rest of the industry.” [email protected] (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! For Antelope Valley travelers, the question of whether to use Palmdale Regional Airport is all about ticket prices. Yes, there will be a big convenience factor, but does it justify the cost? Donato, who takes several trips a year to Northern California, said he would be willing to pay $50 to $100 more a ticket for that convenience. The caveat being how many people are going on the trip with him. “If it’s one person at $100, OK,” Donato said. “If you’re taking four people, then no.” Avoiding LAX Odds are that Los Angeles International Airport is often going to offer cheaper fares, said Mark Thorpe, director of air service marketing for Los Angeles World Airports. However, there are monetary benefits of using Palmdale, including free parking, a time savings in avoiding the trek to LAX and, for some travelers, avoiding booking a hotel by the airport the night before for early morning flights. PALMDALE – It took a bit of doing, but Frank Donato found a competitive fare by using United Airline’s upcoming service out of Palmdale to San Francisco. After suffering a bout of “sticker shock” from airfares in excess of $450, Donato tried some alternative dates and was able to find a much more palatable fare for about $180. For that price, he planned to book 10 seats. “If they keep the prices the same as Burbank, I’ll fly out of Palmdale,” Donato said. “If it’s not the same, it’s easy for me to fly out of Burbank.” United will begin its Palmdale service on June7. Backed by a $4.6million incentive package put together by Los Angeles World Airports, the city of Palmdale and other players, United has pledged to serve the region for at least 18 months. last_img read more