Daily non-stop to begin in March

County officials were jubilant yesterday, announcing a new United Airlines flight connecting the county to Denver, which will begin with a daily non-stop flight in March.

While the press release for the service hails it as “Wine Country to The Rockies,” Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore quipped that it could also be called “The Cannabis Express,” since both California and Colorado have legalized marijuana.

Gore and other dignitaries assembled Monday at the airport to celebrate the new service. “This will provide our constituency the chance to connect to the entire world without going to the Bay Area,” Gore said.

Cassandra Redd, United Airlines’ sales manager for the region, said “Sonoma County residents can connect to our mid-continent hub in Denver and fly anywhere in the United States” once the service launches.

Getting the flight wasn’t easy and Sonoma County has considerable skin in the game, according to Jon Stout, manager of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.

Stout, along with Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Rumble and Claudia Vecchio, CEO and Sonoma County Tourism, explained that the county agreed to invest in marketing the flight and offset some of United’s fees, in order to attract the flight.

The gain of Denver comes along with a cutback on other United flights. The daily runs to San Francisco are dropping from three a day to once a day.

Gore said that the airport is still looking for a carrier to fly from Sonoma County to Guadalajara, Mexico, one of the most popular destinations for locals.

Gore also said he wants to pack the first flight to Denver with Sonoma County leaders who want to celebrate the new connection. “And no, we won’t call it the Cannabis Express,” he added.

Rumble, noting that Keysight Technologies, located in Santa Rosa, has expressed interest in booking 500 to 1,000 flights to and from Denver annually, said the flight could become known as “The Technology Express.”

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