Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport
Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County
(former Santa Rosa Army Airfield)
|Owner/Operator||Sonoma County DOT|
|Serves||Sonoma County, California|
|Location||Sonoma County, near Santa Rosa, California|
|Elevation AMSL||129 ft / 39 m|
The airport is named after Charles M. Schulz, the famed cartoonist of the Peanuts comic strip, who lived in Santa Rosa for more than 30 years. The airport's logo features Snoopy in World War I flying-ace attire atop his doghouse.
In the 1930s Santa Rosa had a small municipal airfield owned by Richfield Oil Corporation next to the Redwood Highway about 6 miles southeast of the present airport. Use of the 3,000-foot sod runway at the earlier airfield was discontinued during World War II as facilities at the present airport improved.
Opened in June 1942 and known as Santa Rosa Army Air Field, the airfield was assigned to Fourth Air Force as a group and replacement training airfield. Known units assigned to Santa Rosa were:
- 354th Fighter Group, March–June 1943
- 357th Fighter Group, June–August 1943
- 363d Fighter Group, August–October 1943
- 367th Fighter Group, October–December 1943
The 478th Fighter Group was permanently assigned to Santa Rosa in December 1943 and began training replacement pilots, who were sent to combat units overseas after graduation.
The airfield was inactivated on January 31, 1946 and turned over to the War Assets Administration for eventual conversion to a civil airport.
From the late 1940s to the mid-1970s Southwest Airways and successors Pacific Air Lines, Air West and Hughes Airwest served Santa Rosa. Southwest Airways Douglas DC-3s followed by Pacific, Air West and Hughes Airwest Fairchild F-27s mainly flew to San Francisco.
Commuter airlines flew STS to San Francisco (SFO) until 2001 as well as to San Jose (SJC) at various times. In the mid-1970s Eureka Aero was flying nonstop to Eureka and Sacramento. In 1985 Westates Airlines Convair CV-580s flew nonstop to Los Angeles for several months before ceasing operations; their July 1985 timetable listed 38 round trips a week between STS and LAX. Other turboprop flights included American Eagle Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners operated by Wings West Airlines for American Airlines nonstop to SFO and San Jose SJC. In late 1989 American Eagle had three Metros a day to SFO and four a day to SJC. In 1995 Reno Air Express was operating codeshare BAe Jetstream 31 nonstop service from Eureka/Arcata, Reno and San Jose flown by Mid Pacific Air on behalf of Reno Air.
In the mid-1980s United Airlines entered into a code sharing agreement with WestAir, a commuter airline that had previously served STS with Cessna 402s and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters to San Francisco. WestAir then began flying as United Express to SFO until 2001. Westair used the Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, Short 360, BAe Jetstream 31 and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia.
In 1989 jet service arrived in Santa Rosa when WestAir operating as United Express began flying four weekday BAe 146-200 nonstops to Los Angeles, soon replaced with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops with this service to LAX then ending in 1991. The Westair BAe 146s were Santa Rosa's only jet flights until Allegiant Air jets appeared on May 19, 2016 followed by American Eagle on February 16, 2017. WestAir formerly operated as Stol Air Commuter flying Britten-Norman Islanders and Trislanders to San Francisco. Stol Air Commuter had administrative offices in Santa Rosa. United Express left Santa Rosa in 2001 (and would not return until 2017) with the airport not having any scheduled passenger airline service for several years during the early and mid 2000s.
In March 2007 airline service resumed; Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, began flights to Seattle/Tacoma and Los Angeles. Horizon added flights to Portland, Oregon in late 2007, to Las Vegas in early 2008, and to San Diego in mid-2012.
In early 2011 Alaska Airlines announced it would retire its Horizon brand, and all flights operated by Horizon now use the Alaska Airlines name. In June 2012 the airline ended flights from STS to Las Vegas.
As part of an agreement between the airport, Alaska Airlines, and the local enotourism industry, it was announced in January 2012 that passengers were allowed to check a 12 bottle case of wine for free on all Alaska Airlines flights from the airport.
Alaska Airlines flights from Santa Rosa are operated with 76-seat Embraer 175 regional jets or 76-seat Bombardier Q400 propjets. E-175s currently fly nonstop to Burbank, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Seattle while the Q400 flies the route to Portland.
New jet service
In March 2016 Allegiant Air announced it would begin flying McDonnell Douglas MD-83s nonstop to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and nonstop to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA). The Las Vegas flight began on May 19, 2016 and the Phoenix flight several days later. The MD-83 was the largest airliner ever scheduled to Santa Rosa; as of October 19, 2016, Allegiant switched from the 166 seat MD-83 to the 155 seat Airbus A319. Allegiant ended flights to Phoenix-Mesa on January 2, 2017 and to Las Vegas on June 30, 2017 and no longer serves Santa Rosa.
In October 2016 American Airlines announced it would begin nonstop service between Santa Rosa and its hub in Phoenix (PHX) on February 16, 2017. The daily code share flight was being operated by SkyWest Airlines as American Eagle with Canadair CRJ-700s. American Eagle then added a second nonstop CRJ-700 roundtrip flight to Phoenix and now has one Canadair CRJ-900 a day between Phoenix and Santa Rosa. American Eagle announced it would begin flying Embraer 175s nonstop to Los Angeles (LAX) effective May 3, 2019 and nonstop to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) effective June 6, 2019. American Eagle now has nonstop jet flights to DFW, LAX and PHX from Santa Rosa.
In February 2017 United Express announced their return to Santa Rosa with thrice daily service to the United Airlines hub in San Francisco (SFO). The flights began on June 8, 2017; SkyWest Airlines Canadair CRJ-200s operate the code sharing flights for United. United Express announced it would begin nonstop CRJ-200 regional jet flights to Denver on March 8, 2019 .
In March 2017 Sun Country Airlines announced seasonal nonstop service between Santa Rosa and Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, to operate from late summer until late fall. Sun Country was operating weekly 162 seat Boeing 737-800s August 24, 2017 through December 3, 2017, connecting via Minneapolis/St. Paul to Boston, New York John F. Kennedy Airport and Washington Reagan National Airport. Sun Country still operates from the airport but has ended all service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and now serves Washington Dulles Airport instead. In May 2018 Sun Country Airlines made a surprise announcement that it would be adding a new seasonal destination from Santa Rosa with nonstop flights between STS and Las Vegas (LAS) in addition to its seasonal nonstop service between the airport and MSP. The Sun Country fleet is composed of Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s, which were the largest aircraft types serving the airport at the time. Sun Country left the airport in early 2020.
In 2017 the airport had 79,231 aircraft operations, average 217 per day: 83% general aviation, 10% air taxi, 6% airline and 1% military. 315 aircraft were then based at this airport: 85% single-engine, 12% multi-engine, 2% jet, and 1% helicopter.
In August 2013 the airport started a project to decouple the ends of the two runways and extend runway 14/32 by 885 feet, to 6000 feet and extend runway 2/20 by 200 feet, to 5202 feet. This project was scheduled for completion in November 2014.
The influx of new passengers in the late 2010s left existing airport facilities under severe strain. As a stopgap solution, the airport invested in a $4 million "tent" serve as gate 2, which opened on October 22, 2021. This has allowed the airport to double the area for outbound passenger seating, open a second passenger screening lane with TSA Pre Check capabilities, and replace portable restrooms with permanent units.
As a more permanent solution, the airport has begun construction on an all-new terminal building. In the initial plan, the new terminal would add 19,000 square feet of new space at a cost of $20 million. However, as passenger growth surpassed projections, the project was expended so that the new terminal would be 40,000 square feet (33,000 square feet of new space and 7,000 of renovated space) at a cost of $31 million. It will include a new gate 1 (replacing the old modular facility), additional space for concessions, an outdoor patio with seating and dining, a two new baggage claim systems, relocation of rental car desks, and a new ticketing lobby. Additionally, it will include space for two passenger screening lines, allowing them to be relocated from the gate 2 tent. The terminal broke ground in late 2020 and is scheduled to open in October 2022.
U.S. 101 is accessible to the airport via Airport Boulevard. Both short-term and long-term parking is available. Long-term parking is split into two lots within walking distance to the north and southeast of the terminal.
A Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit Airport station was constructed about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the airline passenger terminal on Airport Boulevard and shuttle buses are currently serving as the link between the two locations as this passenger rail service is now in operation.
The airport is served by Sonoma County Transit bus route 62. In addition, Mendocino Transit Authority routes 65 and 95 have limited pickups, and drop-offs by request. Sonoma County Airport Express buses also connect the airport with the Oakland International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
Airlines and destinations
|Alaska Airlines||Burbank, Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland (OR), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma|
|American Eagle|| Phoenix–Sky Harbor|
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
|United Express||Denver (resumes September 8, 2021), San Francisco (resumes August 1, 2021)|
|2||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||12,150||American|
|3||San Diego, California||9,460||Alaska|
|4||Los Angeles, California||8,690||Alaska|
|7||Orange County, California||4,880||Alaska|
|8||San Francisco, California||2,350||United|
Sonoma Air Attack Base
The Sonoma Air Attack Base of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (known as CDF or CAL FIRE) was established in 1964 at the northeast corner of the airport. Sonoma responds to an average of 300 calls per year. It has a battalion chief and a fire captain (air tactics group supervisors), a fire apparatus engineer (base manager) and six firefighters. Aircraft at Sonoma include one OV-10 Bronco (Air Attack 140) and two Grumman S-2 Tracker air tankers (classified as S-2Ts, Tankers 85 and 86.)
On average, the base pumps about 300,000 US gallons (1,000 m3) of retardant a year. With the base's pumps, four loading pits and equipment, Sonoma has a possible peak output of 120,000 US gallons (450 m3) of retardant each day. The base's immediate response area covers 4,000 square miles (10,000 km2) and includes Marin County and portions of the CDF Sonoma–Lake–Napa, Santa Clara, San Mateo–Santa Cruz, and Mendocino Units.
Pacific Coast Air Museum
The Pacific Coast Air Museum is at the southeast corner of the airport, next to the hangar used in the 1963 Hollywood all-star comedy movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Known as the Butler Building, the hangar was built during World War II and is still in use.
- PDF, effective 2016-02-04.
- "Sonoma County Airport". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- Freeman, Paul. "Santa Rosa Municipal Airport, Santa Rosa, CA". Tripod.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Swartz, Karl L. "Eureka Aero route map, April 15, 1975". Departed Flights.
- "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Santa Rosa Effective December 15, 1989". Official Airline Guide – via Departed Flights.
- "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Santa Rosa Effective April 2, 1995". Official Airline Guide – via Departed Flights.
- "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Santa Rosa Effective April 1, 1981". Official Airline Guide – via Departed Flights.
- "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Santa Rosa Effective February 15 1985". Official Airline Guide – via Departed Flights.
- "United Express Discontinues Flights". Los Angeles Times. November 1, 2001.
- "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Santa Rosa Effective October 1, 1991". Official Airline Guide – via Departed Flights.
- Moore, Derek (February 16, 2017). "American Airlines debuts service from Sonoma County to Phoenix". The Press Democrat.
- Hart, Steve (March 25, 2012). "Alaska Airlines service energizes Sonoma County airport". The Press Democrat.
- Mutzabaugh, Ben (January 26, 2011). "Horizon Air to 'retire its public brand' in favor of Alaska Air". USA Today.
- Digitale, Robert (July 17, 2012). "Sonoma County-San Diego flights boost Alaska Air ridership". The Press Democrat. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013.
- Verel, Dan (January 20, 2012). "Tourism bureau, Alaska Air to jointly promote region". North Bay Business Journal.
- "Flights from Santa Rosa". Alaska Airlines.
- Mutzabaugh, Ben (March 8, 2016). "Fast-growing Allegiant adds 3 new cities, 22 new routes"". USA Today. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- "Sun Country Airlines Announces New Service To Santa Rosa/Sonoma County, California, And Austin, Texas". Sun Country Airlines. March 8, 2017. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017.
- "Sun Country Airlines".
- Fixler, Kevin (February 27, 2020). "Sun Country Airlines exits Sonoma County airport, ending Minneapolis, Las Vegas flights". The Press Democrat.
- "General Information". STS Runway Project. Sonoma County Airport. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
- Brown, Matt (January 5, 2014). "Sonoma County airport expansion expected to be completed before next winter". The Press Democrat. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- Airport, Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County (October 28, 2020). "New Modular Gate 2 Now Open at Charles M. Schulz — Sonoma County Airport". Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Sonoma County airport completes $4 million passenger tent project". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. October 31, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Santa Rosa airport $31M new terminal project finally takes off". The North Bay Business Journal. November 12, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "$31 million renovation project begins at Santa Rosa airport. See what's coming". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. November 18, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- Airport, Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County (November 9, 2020). "Terminal Improvement and Modernization Project at Charles M. Schulz — Sonoma County Airport". Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Santa Rosa airport $31M new terminal project finally takes off". The North Bay Business Journal. November 12, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Parking". Sonoma County Airport. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- Atkinson, Rollie (June 21, 2017). "County's airport is maxing out". Sonoma West Times & News. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "Maps and Schedules". sctransit.com. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- "Mendocino Transit Authority Route 65". mendocinotransit.org. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- "Mendocino Transit Authority Route 95". mendocinotransit.org. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
- "Sonoma County Airport Express Inc". Sonoma County Airport Express.
- "CA: CA: Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County (STS)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- "Pandemic caps turbulent year at Sonoma County airport with 60% traffic decline, more suspended flights". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- Official website
- Sonoma County Sheriff Helicopter Unit
- (PDF), effective June 17, 2021
- FAA Terminal Procedures for STS, effective June 17, 2021
- Resources for this airport: