Transportation

Want to skip the Bay Area traffic jam? Charter flight service from Mather Airport planned

Business travelers who often field meetings in the Bay Area have inched through the gridlock of westbound traffic for excruciating hours to make it to a conference.

But a new pilot program aims to address that inconvenience as the Sacramento-area economy becomes ever-more entwined with that of the Bay Area.

Starting next month, a new charter flight service out of Mather Airport will offer flights to San Jose International Airport and San Carlos Municipal Airport.

“Already with a shared workforce of more than 220,000, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area are increasingly becoming one labor market,” Greater Sacramento Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome said in a prepared statement. “The flow of capital, services and talent across the Northern California megaregion will benefit from more efficient transportation options.”

The program, which hopes to start launching flights September 10 but may start later in the fall, is planned to last for three months and will offer two roundtrip flights a week from Mather.

Will Kempton, an economic development consultant for the Greater Folsom Partnership, said officials are still doing marketing and research to determine demand for the service. The launch of the program hinges on the number of interested businesspeople who sign up.

Kempton said he expects interest from the business community to be high, as preliminary canvassing suggests alternative transit to the Bay Area is desirable.

An eight-seat King Air 200 airplane is planned to fly early in the morning to San Jose on Tuesdays and San Carlos on Thursdays and return in the evening. Roundtrip tickets will cost $350.

“Regular charter flight service is a valuable amenity for businesses that require close connection between Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area,” Greater Folsom Partnership president and CEO Joe Gagliardi said in a prepared statement. “The time savings for those traveling will allow for increased productivity.”

Both the San Jose and the San Carlos airports are near light rail and public transit connections, so passengers could easily travel to their destination after landing.

The pilot program will test the demand for seats and viability of flight service from Mather to the Bay Area, Kempton said. City leadership is hopeful the program will lead to permanent flights between Mather and the Bay Area, he said.

“The increased access between Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area will make our market more attractive to companies looking to expand or move their operations,” Rancho Cordova deputy city manager Micah Runner said in a prepared statement. “Ultimately, services like these will allow us to continue to grow our regional economy and increase jobs in our communities.”

Local business and economic leaders will be conducting a test flight August 21. For more information and to sign up for the program, visit choosefolsom.com.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.
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