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By   /   Wednesday, September 24th, 2008  /   Comments Off on SLO

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Business and political leaders in San Luis Obispo have shown a lot of moxie lately in their battle to restore air service to the county’s regional airport.

After flying to Dallas in a vain attempt to get American Airlines to restore commuter service to Los Angeles, they remained undaunted. And their efforts were rewarded in recent days when U.S.

Airways signed on for additional flights and expanded aircraft on its route from the Central Coast to Phoenix, shortly after the leadership group met with top brass at U.S. Airways.

Dave Garth at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Mike Manchak at the Economic Vitality Corp. deserve a lot of credit for leading an effective community organizing effort.

So far, they have nearly replaced the flights and service lost when Delta-Skywest and American pulled out this summer.

Scheduled air service is more than just civic ego and civic pride. It is key to attracting business and high-paying jobs to the region.

Now that the bleeding has been stopped at San Luis Obispo, it might be effective to figure out a way to build a platform for more service from San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Oxnard to points south, north and east.

With fares rising, and as a result, loads getting lighter, more and more flights are going to be in jeopardy as long a fuel prices remain high and the economy is weak. This round in the fight for better air service has ended with San Luis Obispo mounting an effective rear-guard action against a severe threat.

But the battle over air service and better connections for business travelers is far from over. Until a measure of financial stability returns to the region’s skies, every new season puts flights and convenience on the line.

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