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Outlook sunny for Modesto to Los Angeles flights

POSTED April 15, 2014 8:06 p.m.

Nonstop flights between the cities of Modesto and Los Angeles are closer to becoming a reality, says DestinationLAX — a campaign striving to collect $1 million in nonbinding pledges as proof that the local community would support the new air service.

After 10 weeks, the City of Modesto’s pledge campaign for the new air service is coming to a successful close, with the campaign far exceeding its initial goal of $1 million. According to DestinationLAX officials, the campaign has raised more than $1.5 million in nonbinding pledges to help show a major airline that there is an audience for the route.

Commitments from several travel agents, including Inter Planet Travel and Luna & Associates, put DestinationLAX over the top, while a successful community-wide effort generated most of the funds. According to DestinationLAX Public Relations Manager Katie Joes, almost 40 businesses and individuals pledged $10,000 or more, with the campaign receiving more than 175 pledges in total.

“I’m very proud of our community, city staff and the Sixel Consulting Group for making this happen,” said Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh. “Additional partners throughout the campaign include the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance.

Additionally, the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation was also part of the campaign, with donations being made to DestinationLAX going towards buying airline tickets and wishes granted to children within the Modesto region to visit Disneyland, Hollywood, and other locations. These donations also count toward the air serve pledge goal, with more than $5,000 being donated to the local Make-A-Wish chapter.

According to the group, the next steps toward beginning air service are already underway, with Jviation Inc., beginning an environmental assessment of the Modesto-City Airport to ensure the effects of the new jet service will not overly impact the airport environs. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the assessment before service can officially begin.

The process is expected to take several weeks, including a 30-day public comment period. Sixel Consulting Group, which has been managing the campaign on behalf of the City of Modesto, will continue to update the community throughout the process at www.DestinationLAX.com.

At the same time one company looks to come into the airport, SkyWest Airlines announced it will be ending flights between Modesto and San Francisco. In ending the service, Sky West pointed to a decline in passengers at the Modesto airport.

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