News

Surf Air continues plans to expand local flights

 

A little over a month ago, Surf Air, the small commuter airline that began flying in and out of the San Carlos Airport in June 2013, announced via a company press release that it planned to expand its local flights, to the consternation of residents and officials who had been pressuring the company to do just the opposite.

Members of the Surf Air working group, made up of local residents and officials, said they had received no advance warning of the announcement. Since the announcement, the group had been trying to meeting with Surf Air CEO Jeff Potter.

The group's members finally got that meeting on May 13, and the news was not good. Potter confirmed after the meeting that Surf Air is increasing the number of planes flying in and out of San Carlos from eight to 11, with flights increasing to 106 per week from 79 per week.

To read the rest of the story, visit the Almanac website.

Comments

20 people like this
Posted by Stop the madness
a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Here we go again. Atherton residents are moving to protect their town almost entirely from Surf Air flights by moving the traffic away from their community. I thought airplane traffic was not to be shifted unto others. I guess this does not apply to privileged Atherton, even though they probably provide a disproportionate numbers of customers to Surf Air.

And of course, the collateral damage would be to the Eastern parts of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, including Midtown and Crescent Park, neighborhoods that are already severely impacted by arriving SFO flights.

Please, do not let this happen. I, for one, am VERY tired of Atherton being able to get rid of their aviation noise problems by dumping them onto others. Enough already.


16 people like this
Posted by Please
a resident of Downtown North
on May 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I'm annoyed with Atherton too! I have 1 Surf Air flight path and 3 SFO arrival flight paths converging over my home day and night. Atherton has close to zero SFO arrivals over their city anymore and they are now complaining about one Surf Air flight path? The ones who should be complaining is Palo Alto. It's a very real problem here.


9 people like this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm

I am not happy with the shift in flight paths over Crescent Park. Here are some contacts at San Carlos Airport - if they are the ones behind changing flight paths.

San Carlos Airport

Gretchen Kelly
Airport Manager
620 Airport Drive
San Carlos, CA 94070
Email: gkelly@smcgov.org
650-573-3700 - Main Phone
650-573-2666 - Noise Hotline

Jim Wadleigh
Airport Operations Duty Manager
620 Airport Drive
San Carlos, CA 94070
Email: jwadleigh@smcgov.org
650-573-3700 - Main Phone
650-573-3482 - Direct Line
650-573-2666 - Noise Hotline

Surf Air

Jim Sullivan
Director of Operations
Surf Airlines, Inc.
1207 4th St, Suite 400B
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Email: jim.sullivan@surfair.com
Phone: 303-249-3700
Website: www.surfair.com

Jeff Potter
Chief Executive Officer
Surf Airlines, Inc.
1207 4th St, Suite 400B
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Website: www.surfair.com

San Francisco Airport

San Francisco Airport Noise Abatement Office
650-821-4736 - Noise Complaint Hotline
877-206-8290 - Toll Free Noise Complaint Hotline
sfo.noise@flysfo.com - Noise Complaint Email
Website (Noise Complaints):
Web Link
Website (Live Tracking):
Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

There is a map that shows rerouting of flights. Apparently this map is in error. Here is note from San Carlos Airport:

"The proposal that you sent below was never a serious consideration by Surf Air or the San Carlos Airport, and has long since been determined to be an invalid option. We are working to reduce noise impacts to neighbors near the San Carlos Airport without moving the noise to another neighborhood."

This is according to:
Gretchen Kelly
Airports Division Manager
San Mateo County Airports
620 Airport Way, Suite 10
San Carlos, CA 94070
650.573.3700


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

These flights should be coming in over the bay and stay over the water until they get to the San Carlos Airport which is east of 101 on baylands. The area east of 101 is an extensive property which is unbuilt until you get to Redwood Shores. Redwood Shores is north of the airport.

The fact that the planes go down Middlefield which has most schools from Mountain View to San Carlos is the worst possible choice they can make.

Possibly there is now pressure since Facebook and the new construction in Redwood City - very high buildings is causing shifts in the air patterns.


12 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Palo Alto residents better get organized, because it is only a matter of time before SurfAir announces they are going to offer a dozen flights a day out of Palo Alto Airport (PAO)... and there is nothing Palo Alto's elected officials can do to stop them.

In the fall of 2013 the previous PACC foolishly signed a contract with the FAA. In exchange for $1.6M in Federal airport improvement funds, the PACC agreed to abide by FAA rules for the next 20-25 years. FAA rules forbid the airport operator from restricting, in any way, who uses the airport, or when they use it. SurfAir can set up shop at PAO anytime they please.

When will SurfAir start operating out of PAO? Well... Palo alto is going to use the $1.6M FAA grant to resurface PAO's runway. I am expecting to hear an announcement from SurfAir not too long after the runway resurfacing is completed.

If you are wondering what kind of attorney would approve such a lopsided contract... that would be a good question for Palo Alto City Attorney Molly Stump.

Molly Stump's Webpage: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 21, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Our runway was resurfaced last month. And markings repainted. Looks nice.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jetman knows well that PAO's Airport Improvement Grant obligations for the next twenty years were incurred years ago and the latest agreement only extends those obligations to a short period after those twenty years.

As the guidance says "be truthful "


Like this comment
Posted by short period of time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"the latest agreement only extends those obligations to a short period after those twenty years."

You seem to be in the know. Or is this information easily accessible/ What is a "short period of time?"

Was the extension for 20 years, longer, or less than 20 years?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 21, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The previous agreements had already bound the airport for the next twenty years. The new agreement extends those obligations from about 2045 to about 2047.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 21, 2015 at 10:24 pm

The San Carlo Airport is not in the same business category as the PAO. San Carlos is a county managed airport. I suspect that they needed the money from Surf Air to bolster their coffers. How San Mateo County manages the finances for San Carlos is not comparable to PAO. Their needs are different and their accounting is different. They are getting a noise monitor!!

The PAO is a city owned airport being run as an Enterprise effort - meaning that both the profit and loss are recorded against the airport. This is a change from the previous set-up where the county (Santa Clara) took the profit and applied to the General Fund but recorded the expense against the airport - - so all county airports under that system would show a loss. That then provides the rationale for the requirement for funding from the FAA.

So new game now - PAO does not have to accommodate anyone that flies in the door - we are not setting up for Joe the drug dealer. Don't scoff at that one - there is a lot of betting on the come now for legalization of pot in CA.

Jetman - you are portraying a victim type scenario. No - we are not victims and will not be. The Airport managers need to respond to any plans for incorporating Surf Air at PAO.

Note - the FAA is not dong well now. Many stories in papers about privatizing that function.





Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 21, 2015 at 10:32 pm

What, no complaints yet about this week's B-17 traffic from Moffett?
Late afternoon departures are coming westbound right over south Palo Alto.

Yes, for $12 nostalgia buffs can go walk through a B-17 and a B-24 at Moffett Field through Saturday. I haven't really seen it publicized anywhere. Half-hour flights are available for those who want to drop a handful of C-notes on a once in a lifetime experience. (It's mostly a guy thing.) Amazing to have these relics still flying after 70 years.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 21, 2015 at 10:37 pm

Correction -- just found it at Mountain View Voice -- Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by short period of time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2015 at 12:05 am

Peter Carpenter,

"PAO's Airport Improvement Grant obligations for the next twenty years were incurred years ago"..."The previous agreements had already bound the airport for the next twenty years. The new agreement extends those obligations from about 2045 to about 2047."

Where do you find this information?

If the obligations for the next 20 years were incurred "years ago", how did this end up at 2045? er now 2047.

I'm seeing 30, 40 years worth of obligations from "years ago" not exactly twenty years.

The going price to get "bound" for 2 years is $1.6 million, so did Palo Alto get money for getting bound for 40 years?


4 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on May 22, 2015 at 6:55 am

Atherton lives matter!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If the obligations for the next 20 years were incurred "years ago", how did this end up at 2045?"

I added incorrectly - I should have stated 2035.

The acceptance of each new Airport Improvement Grant involves a contractual commitment to operate the airport for all aviation activities for approximately twenty years. Each new grant extends the end date by the the time between the new and the previous grant.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

Sorry - still do not see the math.

I believe at this point that airport management needs to respond to it's obligations regarding the management of the airport funding from the various sources and current plans that it is obligated to, as well as future planning.

Too many opinions that have no fiscal responsibility for the actual management of the airport or not an element in city politics.

This is now an enterprise business effort specific to the city of Palo Alto. It already has obligations to the existing clientele - various categories. It is required to have a Business Plan - what a novel idea.

The first obligation is to the existing clientele which hopefully includes emergency personnel for police, etc.

Time to map out the business plan for the airport which has to be matrixed into the general baylands plans for flood control which seem to be always in a limbo situation. The stories on Searsville silt as it sits unresolved are a factor since the outlet for the Creek winds it way around the airport at the bottom - a vulnerable part of this whole scenario. You will note that the airport is where the flood control bags of sand are provided.

Unresolved issues by the city, SU, county, and state are limiting the short and long term airport business plan.

San Carlos is getting a noise monitor - possibly as part of the San Mateo County / SFO Roundtable set-up. If PAO does have any obligations regarding fly-in whenever then where is the noise monitor for Palo Alto?

Also time to exert more effort in SFO activity since their planes are now using Palo Alto as their turn point for arrivals. Yes - there is an FAA office at PAO so get this whole act together instead of a mish-mash typical government effort.

We live in a area where major companies who are government contractors abound - we have extremely qualified people who know what this all suppose to look like regarding efficient city management.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Sorry - still do not see the math. "

Well 1+1 = 2

"The terms, conditions and assurances of this grant agreement shall remain in full force and effect throughout the useful life of the facilities developed or equipment acquired for an airport development or noise compatibility program project, or throughout the useful life of the project items installed within a facility under a noise compatibility program project, but in any event not to exceed twenty (20) years from the date of acceptance of a grant offer of Federal funds for the project. However, there shall be no limit on the duration of the assurances regarding Exclusive Rights and Airport Revenue so long as the airport is used as an airport. There shall be no limit on the duration of the terms, conditions, and assurances with respect to real property acquired with federal funds. Furthermore, the duration of the Civil Rights assurance shall be specified in the assurances."

New grant was signed 2015 - therefore new assurances run until 2035.

Previous grant was signed by county in 2012? - assurances run until 2032

2035-2032 = 2 additional years of assurance


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 9:21 am

[Portion removed.]

At this point the City of Palo Alto has no contractual relationship with Surf Air.

Please do not be "oblivious" to the other factors that need to be resolved so that the airport can get legally set-up as an enterprise business which needs to be integrated into the other bayland issues which are directly next to the airport.

The airport is in a designated flood zone and is vulnerable to potential issues which can temporarily suspend business at that location. Taking on contractual relations with a commercial business opens the city to liability - something that the city attorney needs to get public about as it affects the negotiations with SU over the resolution of the creek silt - which could potentially shut down the airport during a rainy season.

This issue is bigger than "Surf Air" [portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 10:02 am

Palo Alto Airport is not a "victim" site available for anyone to invade. We are not a county airport subject to the whims of commercial entities.

Noted in the Police Log is a non-injury plane crash at the PAO 3:02 PM Sunday. The airport has to content with legal issues on a continual basis.

You will note the number of commercial airlines that have left San Jose because they charge too much and cannot provide the services contracted for.
Location at an airport costs money and a contract. That is a legal issue.

[Portion removed; off topic.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

The fact is that PAO and the City of Palo Alto have contractual obligations:
"22. Economic Nondiscrimination.
a. It will make the airport available as an airport for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination to ALL (emphasis added) types, kinds and classes of aeronautical activities, including commercial aeronautical activities offering services to the public at the airport."


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 11:37 am

The key here is "reasonable terms". That is the catch - "reasonable terms".
That is the result of a contractual relationship with each entity that is using the airport on a regular basis. You have existing owners and businesses which already have their contractual relationship ironed out.

I am sure the "reasonable terms' does not translate that any commercial entity can come in a bully everyone else and pre-empt existing contracts with other entities.

It is a balancing act - there is only so much activity that any airport can support - possibly San Carlos is maxed out and the other people there are not happy with their airport being pre-empted. They are possibly not happy with the bad press directed to them - they have to hire extra people to man the noise level calls - possibly SA is not paying enough to support the additional stress on the airport.

STRESS = Cost of doing business.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 11:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"reasonable terms" and "nondiscrimination" mean that the terms offered to a new entrant can be no more restrictive than those enjoyed by previous entrants.

Nondiscrimination prohibits first come, first serve.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another fact:

"N.J. judge declares GA airports critical to U.S. security and economic vitality
In a 54-page ruling in which he declared the town of Readington, N.J.'s attempt to wrest control of the Solberg Airport an abuse of power, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong declared general aviation airports vital to national security and economic vitality."

"N.J. Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong issued a 54-page ruling in which he blasted the town's eminent domain land grab, a case that has dragged on for nearly 15 years, saying it amounted to a "manifest abuse of power and a waste of local taxpayers' dollars. He ordered the town to pay the Solberg family's legal bills, which are expected to tally into the millions of dollars."


Read more at Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Argue on - My bet says that the County of San Mateo and the City of San Carlos have had it with the horrendously bad publicity attached to Surf Air - the continual city led meetings where people complain - the continual assault on the congress people in that area - and the added cost of dealing with the continual complaints directed at the San Carlos airport. It is sinking in BAD PUBLICITY.

If you think Palo Alto is going to assume the added cost of the BAD PUBLICITY, ADDED COST OF DEALING WITH PEOPLE CALLING TO COMPLAIN - then think again. Surf Air has produced a legal record of bad publicity since their arrival.

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 1:25 pm

I forgot to address the other problem here - a hotel is being build at 101 and Marsh Road - on the east side of the freeway. That is one of the favorite flight paths of SA.

My bet says that the city and county officials have decided that continual flights over the new Marriott hotel is "not a good idea."

And don't forget Redwood City - they have construction in process next to 101 - tall buildings.

The typical flight path for SA will be moved around to accommodate the new higher buildings.

Since all businesses have to break even to survive - both in the air and on the ground - something is going to give.

I think the city of San Mateo and the city officials have had it with SA.
SA is expected to function in a reasonable manner and they have snubbed their nose at everyone who has made reasonable complaints.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident - "My bet says that the city and county officials have decided that continual flights over the new Marriott hotel is "not a good idea."

The facts once again prove you wrong:

COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
PALO ALTO AIRPORT
ADOPTED
By the
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
AIRPORT LAND USE COMMISSION
San Jose, California
November 19, 2008

This plan has a carefully designed and legally adopted height restrictions surrounding the airport per Fig 7.
"Any proposed new construction or expansion of existing structures that would penetrate any of the FAR Part 77 imaginary surfaces of the Airport is considered an incompatible land use, unless either the FAA has determined that the proposed structure does not constitute a hazard to air navigation or the Caltrans Aeronautics Program has issued a permit allowing construction of the proposed structure. The FAA has established minimum standards for the determination of hazards or obstructions to aviation. The FAA permits local agencies such as the ALUC to establish more restrictive criteria for determining if the height of a structure creates a safety hazard to aircraft operations. A determination by the FAA or Caltrans that a project does not constitute a hazard to air navigation does not limit the ALUC from determining that a project may be inconsistent under the policies of this CLUP."

It pays to do your homework before placing all these bets - but then you really have nothing to lose by making online anonymous bets.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 3:33 pm

You are making this about Santa Clara County - it is about San Mateo County and the San Carlos Airport - the typical flight path into San Carlos for SA. Over the Marsh Road / 101 Marriott hotel and the RWC new construction. It is also about all of the city mayors, Reps for Congress, FAA and San Carlos Airport people who have to attend continual meetings about SA and the complaints against it. Don't push this back onto Santa Clara County.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident 1 - There is also a Comprehensive land Use Plan for San Carlos Airport.

Let us know when you find it.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm

I don't care about the San Carlos Airport - they can take care of themselves just fine thank you. Not my territory.

I am done on this topic - I actually am going to celebrate the holiday.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Res1,

You may want to look into the City of Santa Monica's 30+ year struggle with the FAA to regain control of Santa Monica Airport after accepting FAA grants.

"Santa Monica versus the FAA over airport"
LA Times ~ November 9, 2014 Web Link

Aviation Impact Reform (search santa + monica): Web Link



1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note the facts in the Santa Monica case:
"The city has received about $10 million in improvement grants from the FAA since 1985 — also on the condition that the airport function until 2015. An additional $240,000 received in 2003 pushed that deadline to 2023, according to the FAA."

Sound familiar?

And here is a March 2015 update re Santa Monica:
"The upshot of all of this is that Santa Monica can’t close SMO until these actions are resolved. If the City tried to do so the FAA would probably get an injunction, because it can argue in court that closing the airport is a drastic measure that would cause irreparable harm (to aviation). No judge is going to allow an airport to close while the merits are still being litigated."


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Pay back the grants and the FAA is fine with closing an airport.


3 people like this
Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm

My advice is to get over it.

I have more complaints about Harley Davidson bikes then airplanes. Why aren't you going after the awful noise those donor cycles make?

Palo Alto residents need to learn - if you whine about everything, nobody will listen to anything.


2 people like this
Posted by short period of time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"closing the airport is a drastic measure that would cause irreparable harm (to aviation)."

Irreparable as in boo hoo that Harrison Ford won't be able to ditch his plane around town?

I would want to see more objective data about "irreparable" than drama act about an ouchy to Aviation.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a legal judgement which overrides your personal opinion:
"closing the airport is a drastic measure that would cause irreparable harm (to aviation)."


2 people like this
Posted by short period of time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2015 at 11:47 pm

Peter Carpenter,

Didn't you jut post that the FAA "would probably" get an injunction - and that the merits are still being litigated?

The legal judgement you refer to is made by who? FAA lawyers?

IF the merits are being litigated (as you said they are), they just MAY want to consider my humble opinion- Less drama from Aviation, and more objective numbers about the meaning of "irreparable"


4 people like this
Posted by If Only
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

It would help if they flew at higher altitudes, but the idea of flying out over water and not coming in over land until they line up with San Carlos is a great suggestion.

Any chance of sleep-deprived and work-and-school-interrupted people getting together and filing a lawsuit????


1 person likes this
Posted by short period of time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2015 at 9:26 am

If only,

"the idea of flying out over water and not coming in over land until they line up with San Carlos is a great suggestion."

Must be something about Surf AIr that gets all the attention when in the meantime Korean, Asiana, United, Southwest, Virgin and a bunch of known and unknown Airline names are coming in over land.

But sure, let's reserve the Bay for Surf Air so that Atherton can solve their problem. That really makes a lot of sense.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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