Will Oxnard Airport Passenger Service ever return?

At the Feb. 10 CAMARILLO/OXNARD AIRPORT AUTHORITY meeting, an American Airlines pilot who lives in Oxnard and who used to fly into OXR for American Eagle, speaks up about the reality of passenger services, ever coming back to Oxnard Airport.

“The airline industry business model has changed in the last 15-20 years. When small 19-30 passenger turbo-props were serving many small airports like Oxnard 20 years ago, the high volume of these commuter flights actually created ATC traffic jams at LAX and other large airports and because of the smaller turbo-prop aircraft approach speeds were mismatched with heavier airliners, it caused airline separation issues for the final approach controllers resulting in holding aircraft on the ground for inbound flights to the hub airport. Also the limited gate space available at LAX caused more delays on the taxiways.

The congestion was so harmful to our flight schedules that it caused heavy numbers of missed connecting passengers. Something had to be done to keep the integrity of our schedules in our ability to get our passengers to their connecting flights.

Fast-forward to the present you will find that the airline industry has shifted away from serving smaller airports to serving larger and medium sized hubs such as LAX and Santa Barbara Airport. Coupled with using 75-100 seat regional jets that have replaced the turbo-prop fleets, it is not economically feasible for airlines to serve small airports, that are less than an hour’s drive to medium-sized hub such and Santa Barbara Airport and larger hubs such as LAX, which is at the most an 1 hour and 45 minutes away with traffic.

The airlines pulled out of Oxnard almost 14 years ago, and in that time, our economy has seen some very robust times, but during that period they never came back. That right there should tell you a paradigm shift has occurred. That being said, I would like to encourage you all to re-evaluate your decisions on funding extravagant projects at Oxnard, like billing 14 Million dollar runways, designed to support heavy regional jets that will never be using it.