Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, recently announced it is expecting 45.2 million passengers to fly globally on U.S. airlines during the 21-day period between Friday, December 16, 2016 through Thursday, January 5, 2017.

That is a record number of passengers navigating America’s network of airports and, putting airlines’ already tight schedules to the test.  The result has been that the smallest disruption in the system can cause a ripple effect that impacts flights throughout the nation.  Here at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, we, along with area airports, have borne the brunt of those ripples with our nonstop flights to LAX being disproportionately affected.  Most recently, system disruptors have been identified as construction at LAX, weather and federally mandated regulations on pilot rest times.

We understand how frustrating the flight delays and cancellations caused by disruptions in the system can be for our passengers at SBP and although many of these factors are beyond our control, we’re working closely with airline representatives to try to address the issues as they arise. While the ultimate resolution rests with the carriers, we are doing our part to try to ease as much of the strain on our passengers. Our customers are our top priority and we are continuing to do what we can to help mitigate travel headaches.  Our efforts to ease the passenger experience will particularly be felt as the third phase of select airport improvement projects is completed with the opening of the new terminal building anticipated by the fall of 2017. Prior to that, the airport’s runway extension project and a new aircraft parking apron were completed in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Collectively, these improvements allow the airport to handle larger aircraft which, historically experience fewer delays and cancellations.  Additionally, the increased capacity of our significantly larger, approximately 50,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art airport terminal will include enhanced TSA facilities, two jet bridges and four gates that will allow for more streamlined movement through the airport.

While completion of the last of these enhancements is still several months away, we do want to express to our customers that we recognize and understand the frustrations caused by more recent inconveniences and we are working hard to do our part.

In the meantime, we would encourage our passengers to allow more time for connections, query your carrier for flight updates and check in two hours prior to your flight on peak travel days.

For more information about industry-wide efforts to mitigate flight delays visit: http://www.iata.org/policy/consumer-pax-rights/consumer-protection/Pages/flight-delays.aspx

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