Cathie Anderson: Mexican airline Volaris to begin service out of Sacramento International

Published: Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 - 8:20 am

The Sacramento International Airport will land a second international tenant when Mexico's second-largest airline, the low-cost carrier Volaris, arrives in the market on Nov. 15.

Just in time for the holidays, Volaris will offer flights to Guadalajara on Wednesdays and Fridays, departing at 12:15 a.m. and arriving at 6 a.m. The flights from Guadalajara will arrive here at 11 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Volaris will compete against its larger rival, Aeromexico, which began service to Guadalajara in July 2011. Depending on the season, Aeromexico offers as many as five flights a week or as few as three.

Competition can be good for business, said Linda Beech Cutler, deputy director of commercial strategy division for the Sacramento County Airport System.

"Even if you're duplicating service, very often it will stimulate demand for that when there's more capacity," she said. "So, it doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a static amount of passengers that then will be split with Aeromexico. Just by virtue of the marketing ... these kinds of announcements just remind people that you can get there from here."

Volaris becomes the first carrier to inaugurate service since the new Terminal B opened. All international flights operate out of that terminal, Cutler said, noting that there's room for more tenants.

Volaris spokeswoman Sai Irene Sánchez Correa said Sacramento appealed to the airline because its large Mexican American population often visits friends and family. Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, also attracts many tourists. One of Mexico's cultural centers, it has roughly 20 museums and a deep passion for mariachi music.

Asked about the departure time, Sánchez Correa said red-eye flights between California and Guadalajara have been very successful for the low-cost carrier in other markets. Volaris' fares will vary, but price checks at www.volaris.com on Wednesday showed round trips cost $425 in late November.

Birds of a feather

Magpie Café owners Ed Roehr and Janel Inouye opened their second eatery Tuesday on 14th at O street, definitely meeting the fall deadline that they shared with me in June. The sign outside the new outpost reads, "Yellowbill is open."

"We wanted people to understand that it was part of Magpie, and since we named Magpie after the yellow-billed magpie (native to the Sacramento region), we thought they would see the connection," Roehr said. "We wanted to keep the connection to the bird that inspired us to make food about Sacramento, but we didn't want people confused about where they were headed or what was going to happen when they got here."

At Yellowbill, you'll find Chocolate Fish coffee just as you do at Magpie, and the treats will be much the same – lemon tarts, carrot cake cookies, ice cream sandwiches and the like. On Tuesday, Roehr said the menu consisted of coffee and pastries, but savory, seasonal focaccia, soups, grab-and-go salads and other lunch foods are coming.

Some Sacbee.com readers questioned the wisdom of opening in a spot where other restaurants have failed, but Roehr sees the spot as an oasis of tranquillity and possibility.

"The corner itself is beautiful. The outside seating is inspiring. You can see the Capitol Park from the patio outside," he said. "… I don't really know what happened with the operators before us, but we just looked at it with fresh eyes and thought this spot is probably a place where we can make something happen."

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