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More Airline Traffic Coming to Oakland Airport

A new report by the Regional Airport Planning Committee (RAPC), released this week, recommends encouraging airlines to add more flights to Oakland International Airport, to shift passengers there from San Francisco International Airport. The result could be more noise for Alameda residents.

According to the Regional Aviation Activity Tracking Report, from 2007 to 2011, passenger traffic at Oakland fell 37 percent while San Francisco passenger traffic grew 21 percent.

The Regional Airport Planning Committee (RAPC) expects passenger traffic at the three Bay area airports – Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose – to soar from 58.4 million in 2011 to 101.3 million in 2035

The report notes that flight delay problems at San Francisco airport are common during poor weather and due to the close proximity of the two main landing runways. Flights into Oakland airport are on-time more often than flights into San Francisco. (Shifting weather patterns can also impact operations at San Francisco airport, resulting in increased noise for Alameda residents.)

RAPC expects that a long-term increase in the average number of passengers per flight at San Francisco airport will help, but it won’t be enough.

“Part of RAPC’s long-range strategy,” said Doug Kimsey, planning director for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), “is to relieve pressure on San Francisco’s runways by expanding the use of the Oakland and San Jose airports. Both airports have the terminal facilities and runway capacity to accommodate more flights. But since it’s the airlines who decide where they want to add service, it’s hard to look 20 or 25 years into the future and forecast precisely how many passengers will use each Bay Area airport.”

The committee expects that the better conditions at Oakland airport should appeal to the airlines, however, the report provides no specifics on how regional agencies would encourage airlines to add more flights at Oakland or other airports.

The Regional Airport Planning Committee includes representatives from the three major Bay Area airports, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The full report is online here.

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