Growing pains lead to expansion hopes at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- It was another busy day at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

Here comes United flight 5805 from Denver, which will soon enough become 5789 back to Denver.

Sonoma County's home grown gate agent Mary Durham knows all about the pace here.

"We get more than one flight and it gets very busy in our little permanent tent as we like to call it."

Actually, the departure lounge is a temporary tent with soft walls, which might be helpful to some passengers, but it is also problematic for airport manager Jon Stout.

"The airport is fine. The terminal needs some help," he said.

Sonoma County Airport has come a long way since resuming commercial passenger service in March, 2007. From one plane serving Seattle and Los Angeles, then, the small, 15,000 square-foot terminal now serves 17 flights and almost 2,000 passengers a day.

We're used to feeling like sardines in a fuselage. But, an airport?

"I have never seen one this small," said Jeanene Volmert, flying to Springfield, Missouri.

Hence, Sonoma County's pending application to the FAA for $20 million. That money would triple the size of this terminal, expand service, and perhaps take pressure away from other airports in the region.

"Our argument is we are the now the smallest commercial service terminal in the state of California," said Stout.

Studies show that each additional flight will create 70 jobs to Sonoma County.

Jim Goff, who has run the restaurant franchise, has already seen it here.

"When you began how many employees did you have?" we asked.



"Twenty-nine," said Goff.

If the money comes through, expect construction to begin next year.
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