Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Currently, Alaska Airlines is the only airline that serves STS. Alaska's sister carrier, Horizon Air, operates the aircraft and employs the flight and  ground crews at STS.

Alaska Airlines currently flies nonstop to Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle.

The Alaska Air Group has partnerships with Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Era Aviation, KLM, LAN Chile, Northwest Airlines, PenAir, and Quantas. Many connections can be made through SEA, PDX, and LAX on Alaska Airlines and its partners.

STS is the closest and most convenient airport for travelers to and from the Wine Country. It has shorter lines and is easy to navigate. You can save yourself a stressful and unpredictable two-hour drive by flying locally. Parking is less expensive and only a short walk to the terminal. The airfares for flying out of STS are competitive with other airports especially when time and convenience are factored in.

The Airport is in ongoing talks with several carriers. Destinations we would like to service include Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

No. Smoking is not allowed inside or within 20 feet of any Sonoma County governmental building.

 The Sonoma County Airport code is STS.

 The FAA operates STS's ATCT and the Federal government employs the staff.

The Airport is owned and operated by the County of Sonoma and is a division of the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

There are a variety of business opportunities available at the Airport. One is to rent space in which to conduct a business. The Airport has office and warehouse space available for aviation-related and other types of business. Contact the Airport Manager's Office at (707) 565-7243 to inquire about available space.

There are also business opportunities for contractors, vendors, professional services, and others. To receive notice of upcoming Airport projects, visit the Current Airport Projects page of the Transportation & Public Works website and sign up for email alerts when new projects are posted.

Sonoma County Airport is owned by the County of Sonoma and operated by Transportation & Public Works Department. Visit the Purchasing page in the General Services Department website for information about doing business with the Airport and the County of Sonoma.

Travelers are encouraged to purchace tickets online or through an agent, however, reservations can be made via the customer service telephone located on the counter to the immediate right of the front entrance. Travelers wanting to pay cash for a reservation may do so when the baggage check-in counter is staffed, typically two hours before departure times. The baggage check-in counter is not continually staffed.

Tickets can be purchased at alaskaair.com and by calling 1-800-252-7522 / TTY 1-800-682-2221.

Alaska Airlines does not have a continuously staffed phone in the Airport Terminal, however, you may leave a message for airline staff at (707) 543-7100.

If you have questions about tickets, reservations, or other travel needs, please call Alaska at 1-800-252-7522 / TTY 1-800-682-2221.

Please visit alaskaair.com or call 1-800-252-7522 / TTY 1-800-682-2221 for assistance with flights and ticketing.

Please visit alaskaair.com or call 1-800-252-7522 / TTY 1-800-682-2221 for the latest fares and specials.

Parking is available in the convenient short-term parking lot (the first 2 hours are free) directly across the street from the Terminal. Refer to this map for parking lot locations. The Airport also has a limited number of one and two-hour parking spaces on the street near the entrance to the Terminal. A loading zone at the Terminal curb allows for quick pick-ups and drop-offs. Unattended vehicles in the loading zone will be cited.

There is no limit in the short-term or long-term parking lots. If you park in a time-limited parking spot on the street for longer than the designated time, your vehicle will be ticketed.

Yes. However, if the long-term lot is full, you will then need to park in the short-term lot. It should be noted that the daily rate of $8.00 per day is charged in the long-term lot regardless of the amount of time spent in a 24-hour period.

Republic Parking System manages the short and long-term parking lots for the Airport. Both lots are conveniently located within walking distance of the Terminal. Republic Parking can be reached at 707-523-2186. Pay with cash at the foot station or with a credit card at all parking lot exits.

Taxicab operators are required to have a permit to operate at the Airport. Click here to see an approved list of taxi companies who serve STS.


Please note: Taxicab  and commercial vehicle operators who are interested in operating at Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport are required to complete a temporary agreement. Please click here for more information.

 

Airport Express picks up at the bus shelter in front of the terminal to the left of the entrance. Please do not stop or park in this bus stop parking zone, leave it clear for buses. For a complete list of schedules, fares, and stops, refer to the Airport Express website.

You're allowed one carry-on bag, which can measure up to 10" H x 17" W x 24" L (25 x 43 x 61 cm), plus one personal item, such as a purse, briefcase or laptop computer. At least one of the items should be stowed under the seat in front of you.

Passengers who are checking baggage are advised to arrive 90 minutes before departure in order to check in and pass through Security in a timely manner. The check in counter closes 40 minutes before posted departure. If you have not checked your bags 40 minutes prior to departure and do not have your boarding pass in hand at least 30 minutes prior to departure, you risk missing your flight.

There is a $20 charge per bag for the first three bags checked. For four or more bags there is a $50 per bag fee. Refer to Alaska Airlines Checked Baggage for more information about checked baggage and baggage fees.

Alaska Airlines suggests you fill out this identification form and place it inside your baggage as well as keeping current ID securely attached to the outside of your baggage.

Wine is allowed in checked baggage but not in carry-on bags. Alaska Airlines will accept a case of up to 12 bottles of wine per passenger as checked baggage at no extra charge from customers on flights departing Sonoma County. Many local wineries sell packaging materials for checking or shipping wine.

There is no restriction on the amount of alcohol you may pack in your checked luggage, provided it contains under 24% alcohol by volume (e.g. beer and wine). Alcohol greater than 24% up to and including 70% (140 proof) is allowed with the following restrictions:

  • Up to five liters of alcohol per package
  • Up to five liters of alcohol per person
  • Must be in retail packaging

Alcohol over 70% (140 proof) is prohibited.

Wine Skins, leakproof packaging for single bottles of wine in checked baggage, are available for purchase in terminal vending machines, online, and in many shops and wineries.

For guidelines, fees, and restrictions regarding traveling with pets visit Alaska Airline's website. See the Disabled Services section above for information about traveling with service animals.

Federal law prohibits the transport of any marijuana on any flight including flights within the state of California.

Trinity Technology Group, a contractor for TSA is in charge of security screening at Sonoma County Airport. For information about prohibited items, acceptable ID, traveling with food or gifts, and more,  visit TSA.gov.

Visit TSA's web page about what can and cannot be checked in carry-on and checked baggage.

Yes. For more information about traveling with battery-powered electronic devises, visit TSA's page about traveling with electronics.

Yes, but fees and restrictions may apply. Please review Alaska's guidelines for complete information regarding children traveling alone. If a child's itinerary includes non-Alaska Airlines flights, please check with that airline directly regarding their policies, fees, and age limits.

Security Officers are present at the Airport. The security team partners with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department in the event of illegal or suspicious activity.

Please refer to TSA.gov for ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints. The absence of proper identification will result in additional screening.

If you are flying within the U.S. you do not need a passport in order to board a plane. However, passports are government issued forms of identification that can be used when checking in to your flight.

TSA guidelines state that, "All food must go through the X-ray machine. Do NOT bring food to the security checkpoint unwrapped. Food must be wrapped or in a container. Unpeeled natural foods like fruit are okay, but half-eaten fruits must be wrapped." Beverages purchased after the security checkpoint can also be brought onto the plane. TSA regulations prohibit bringing any beverages in containers over 3 ounces through the security checkpoint.

Visit the Alaska Airlines flight status page or call 1-800-252-7522 for current schedules.

Visit the home page of this website, sonomacountyairport.org, to see current flight information for STS.

You may call Alaska Airlines at 1-800-252-7522 or visit the airline flight status page for information about arrival times and delays. Knowing the flight number makes flight tracking easier.

There are also a number of free online flight-checking websites that allow you to track flights in real time. FlightStats is one of them.

You can meet arriving passengers inside the Terminal, outside at the gate between the restaurant patio and the Terminal, or in front of the Terminal.

Currently, luggage may only be checked at the check-in counter in the Terminal. The check in counter closes 30 minutes prior to the departure of a flight.

Alaska Airlines recommends passengers with checked bags arrive 90 minutes before departure and 60 minutes prior with carry on. Passengers who are checking bags must check them in at least 40 minutes prior to departure. In addition, the boarding gate closes 10 minutes prior to departure. You should get through Security screening to the waiting area at least 30 minutes prior to departure so you do not miss your flight.

Do do not delay, get here early. It is a small airport, but flights connect to large hubs. It takes time to screen and board passengers. It is important to get everyone on board so the aircraft can depart on time. Too often we see passengers who cut it too close miss their flights. Sometimes they wait in the lobby too long before going through Security and miss their flights! We do not like to see this happen!

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the Airport and through Security, unexpected delays can happen anywhere. Do not risk missing your flight!

Yes, under certain conditions. If a passenger requires an escort due to disability or age, an escort must obtain a security pass at the check in counter and go through security screening to accompany the passenger to the boarding area. Security passes are limited and typically one pass is issued per passenger requiring an escort. For information about children traveling alone, visit alaskaair.com or call 1-800-252-7522.

Alaska Airlines is pleased to provide assistance for travelers who require Mobility/Wheelchair assistance. To provide the optimal experience it is recommended that all travelers:

  • Make their reservations as early as possible, services can be requested online or over the phone.
  • Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure when requesting these services.
  • Advise a Customer Service Agent (CSA) of any special requirements when checking in at the airport.

For complete information and services offered, visit the Alaska Airlines website.

Yes. Please refer to TSA's website regarding traveling with service animals.

Alaska Airlines asks that you report any irregularity concerning baggage to the Baggage Service Office at your arrival airport. All reports should be made in-person and within 24 hours of arrival time. Failure to report baggage mishandling of any type will result in a denial of compensation.

For more information visit the Baggage Services page of the Alaska's website or contact the Alaska Central Baggage Service office at 1-877-815-8253.

The lost baggage and message line at Sonoma County Airport is (707) 543-7100. 

Please note that it is important to retain copies of your ticket, baggage claim check, and any receipts you may have accumulated for expenses incurred relating to your claim. Alaska suggests you fill out this form and place it inside your baggage as well as securely attaching current ID on the outside of your baggage.

There are several numbers to call if you lose an item at Sonoma County Airport:

Alaska / Horizon's local baggage and message line: (707) 543-7100

Airport Manager's Office Lost and Found: (707) 565-7243

Lost in the Sky Lounge Steakhouse Restaurant: (707) 542-9400

Lost in a parking lot - Republic Parking (707) 523-2186

To locate items left onboard a Horizon Air or Alaska Airlines flight, fill out this online form (preferred method).

Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air's lost baggage line is 1-877-815-8253 , or online at Baggage Services.

For questions about baggage inspected by Security, call 1-866-289-9673. 

For items left at the restaurant, please call the restaurant at 707-542-9400.

Call Republic Parking at 707-523-2186 for items lost in the parking lot.

STS is a 24-hour facility. The Air Traffic Control Tower operates from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm, seven days a week.

Office hours are M-F 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

For information about advertising at the Airport call the Airport Administrative Office at (707) 565-7243.

There are two FBOs at the Airport, KaiserAir and Sonoma Jet Center. Both offer a wide variety of services, including fuel and aircraft maintenance. KaiserAir can be reached at (707) 528-7400 and Sonoma Jet Center at (707) 523-2800. Visit the Partners page for a complete list of Airport tenants and associates.

There are a variety of business opportunities available at the Airport. One is to rent space in which to conduct a business. The Airport has office and warehouse space available for aviation-related and other types of business. Contact the Airport Manager's Office at (707) 565-7243 to inquire about available space.

There are also business opportunities for contractors, vendors, professional services, and others. To receive notice of upcoming Airport projects, visit the Current Airport Projects page of the Transportation & Public Works website and sign up for email alerts when new projects are posted.

Sonoma County Airport is owned by the County of Sonoma and operated by Transportation & Public Works Department. Visit the Purchasing page in the General Services Department website for information about doing business with the Airport and the County of Sonoma.

To charter a plane, contact KaiserAir at (707) 528-7400 or Solairus Aviation at (415) 897-4522.

The FAA directs traffic into and out of the Airport. Flights are directed to the safest pattern depending on the amount of air traffic and prevailing winds at the time of arrival or departure. Safety is the FAA's first consideration. However, aircraft can and do fly over all parts of Sonoma County.

No. Jet aircraft are allowed to, and do, operate out of STS. During daytime operations, 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, no aircraft shall operate from STS that exceeds 83.2 dba. For nighttime operations, 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, the noise level shall not exceed 72.0 dba. An aircraft is rated by its take-off noise level per the FAA Advisory Circular 36-3.

Aircraft are directed by the ATCT within a 5-mile radius of the Airport based on safety, prevailing winds, and the amount of traffic at the time. Aircraft arrive from all directions; for safe operations, they must take off and land into the wind. Wind direction charges by season and time of day. This may often place aircraft over residential areas. Pilots are asked to fly friendly by using appropriate procedures in order to reduce noise over sensitive areas around the Airport.

Yes. Sonoma County does not contain any No Fly Zones.

Yes. The exemptions are:

  • Aircraft operating on emergency missions, including their support functions.
  • Aircraft of the United States Government and its various agencies.
  • Daytime operations by aircraft based at STS prior to the establishment of the aircraft operating noise limits.
  • Vintage aircraft.

The Airport has a Noise Management Program that offers noise management procedures and Airport noise limits. Pilots are requested to ensure that their aircraft comply with these limits prior to operating at the Airport. There are daytime noise limits and much stricter nighttime noise limits. In addition, pilots are asked to avoid overflying residential areas to the extent traffic and safety permits. Safety always supercedes noise management procedures.

Neighbors who are disturbed by loud flying aircraft or other types of operations are encouraged to call the Airport's Complaint Line at (707) 544-4787. This line is connected to a digital recorder that takes messages 24 hours per day, seven days a week. One call equals one complaint regardless the number of aircraft detailed. In addition, complaints will be accepted by phone, voice mail, fax, or a personal visit to the Airport office.

If a specific aircraft is identified through the investigation process, the aircraft owner will be notified that their operation generated a complaint and they will be asked to fly in a neighborly fashion. They will also receive a noise management brochure that has current guidelines that we ask pilots to follow. If the operation is in violation of the Airport's noise limitations, a letter will be sent to the owner of the aircraft informing them of the violation and that future visits of that aircraft may result in fines.

Additionally, if the aircraft appears to have violated FAA Regulations, the incident will be turned over to the FAA for their investigation and action. The Aviation Commission reviews all complaints at their regularly scheduled meetings. In addition, all complaints received are presented annually to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for their review.

The proposed project is the implementation of the 2030 Airport Master Plan (AMP). This includes a variety of project elements that would be implemented at the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport (Airport) over the course of the next twenty years. The AMP includes project elements related to maintaining and improving Airport safety, and maintaining and upgrading Airport facilities.

In November 2005, Congress mandated that all airports with scheduled airline service be brought into conformance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards for Runway Safety Areas (RSA) by 2015. The Airport has two runways in a “V” configuration.  The approach ends of Runways 14 and 19 are co-located and are not in compliance with current FAA design standards regarding runway ends. This proposed project addresses these runway safety area issues.

The FAA’s Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) is a multi-disciplinary group that is charged with identifying means of improving safety at airports.  The RSAT prepared a Runway Safety Action Plan that indicates that the co-located approach ends of Runways 14 and 19 could lead to pilot confusion.  This issue remains an ongoing, potential risk identified at the Airport. The RSAT recommends that the Airport eliminate the existing condition of the co-located approach ends of Runway 14 and Runway 19 by de-coupling the two runways.  Extension of the two runways was intended to address this issue.  The Runway Safety Action Plan also included recommendations for modifying taxiways, airfield signage, and pavement marking.  The proposed project includes means of implementing or addressing all of the items in the Runway Safety Action Plan.

The forecasts developed for the EIR identify the mix of aircraft that are projected to use the Airport. The forecasts acknowledge that different types of aircraft are projected to use the Airport as a result of the implementation of the proposed project.

CEQA stands for California Environmental Quality Act. It is a state law that was enacted in 1970 for protection of environmental resources. It requires California agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and describe measures which can be taken to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.

EIR stands for Environmental Impact Report.  An EIR is a document required by CEQA when an agency determines that a proposed project may have a significant effect on the environment.  An EIR describes the proposed project, the existing environmental conditions, the impacts from construction and operation of the proposed project as well as mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate impacts.  Information in the DEIR enables decision-makers, interested parties and the public to evaluate the proposed project and its environmental effects.

After the Draft EIR (DEIR) was prepared, it was released for public review for 45-days. The DEIR was placed in local libraries and posted on the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport website to make it available for review. 

Written comments were submitted by the public during this period. Interested citizens and public agencies had until September 19, 2011 to review the DEIR and submit written comments for consideration by the County of Sonoma. During the public review period, the County of Sonoma held a public meeting and one noticed public hearing before the County of Sonoma Planning Commission, to allow the Planning Commission and interested parties and agencies to voice their opinions regarding the adequacy of the DEIR.  For a list of public meetings and hearings related to the EIR and Master Plan Update process please visit Public Information Meetings.

The CEQA process requires a lead agency to respond to each written comment received during the DEIR review period. Each individual comment is evaluated for relevance to the DEIR and a response is prepared. In some instances, a comment may result in revision to the DEIR. The collection of comments and responses together with the DEIR constitute what is called the Final EIR (FEIR). The FEIR must then be certified by the lead agency as adequate and in compliance with CEQA before a project can be approved.

On January 24, 2012, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors took final action and approved certification of the Environmental Impart Report (EIR) and approved the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport Master Plan and related General Plan and Zoning amendments.
 

After the public comment period for the DEIR closed, the County of Sonoma responded to comments and prepared the Final EIR (FEIR), that includes all written comments received regarding the project’s environmental impacts. The Response to Comments was prepared as a separate document from the DEIR. The FEIR consists of the DEIR and the Response to Comments document and any revisions made as a result of public comments. It was presented to the Planning Commission where they voted to recommendation the project to the Board of Supervisors (BOS).  The FEIR was presented to the BOS on January 10, 2012, where a public hearing was conducted and straw votes taken.

On January 24, 2012, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors took final action and approved certification of the Environmental Impart Report (EIR) and approved the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport Master Plan and related General Plan and Zoning amendments.
 

The three key project objectives are to: 1) comply with the congressional mandate (Public Law 109-115) that owners or operators of commercial service airports with scheduled airline service be brought into conformance with FAA standards for Runway Safety Areas (RSAs) by 2015, 2) decouple the approach ends of Runways 14 and 19 and continue to meet the runway length requirements of existing commercial and general aviation aircraft and 3) provide sufficient runway length to accommodate regional jet operations.

If the Airport does not complete the mandatory improvements to the runway safety area, the FAA could find the Airport in violation of its operating certificate.  If this should occur the FAA has several options that they could employ, such as 1) fines for failure to meet standards; 2) require the Airport to shorten runways to a length that allows for the 1,000 feet of safety area beyond the end of the new runway length; 3) revoke the Airport’s part 139 certificate allowing commercial operations; 4) require reimbursement of previous grants that have been used to upgrade the Airfield; and 5) a combination of all of these items.

Failure to address the decoupling situation would not result in as drastic a response from FAA as the consequences for failing to bring the RSA up to standards, as this is not congressionally mandated.  This situation could continue to be an outstanding item on our safety reviews, which could be a potential liability concern if the County does not address the situation.  Finally, the FAA could require other alternatives to decoupling, such as shortening runway 1/19. 

The third primary objective to have runway lengths that can accommodate regional jet aircraft would not be met, and the Airport would not be able to meet the air transportation needs of the community by securing commercial service to points such as Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix, as the carriers for these destinations prefer to use regional jet aircraft in our market.

Potential effects to the environment were studied and presented in the DEIR. The DEIR identifies and evaluates measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate adverse impacts and describe the potential environmental effects of the proposed project and the steps that will be taken to alleviate them.  Environmental review for the proposed project addresses the following resource areas:  aesthetics, agricultural resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise, safety and transportation and traffic.

The proposed project would result in changes to three types of noise: construction-related noise, aircraft-related noise, and traffic-related noise.

The Airport is currently used by the full spectrum of general aviation (i.e., private or corporate) aircraft.  The majority of operations are by single-engine piston aircraft.  This will continue to be the case whether or not the proposed project is implemented.  The types of general aviation aircraft currently using the airport include:  single- and twin-engine piston aircraft; single-and twin-engine turboprops; and the full range of jets from the smallest corporate jet to the Boeing 737 business jet.  Airline service is currently provided using twin-engine turboprops.  The mix of aircraft types will be identical whether or not the project is implemented, except that regional airline jets would be unlikely to use the Airport without the proposed improvements.

Due to the runway extension, aircraft landing from the northwest will be about 40 feet lower than today, while those departing to the south will be about 40 feet higher.  The difference in height above the ground will mean that individual aircraft operations associated with the main runway (Runway 14/32) will be slightly louder to the northwest and slightly quieter to the southwest.  Except in areas close to the airport the difference in sound levels may not be noticeable to residents.  The loudest sound levels will continue to be generated by the larger corporate jets.  Although the various models of regional airline jets vary in their sound levels, as a group they are similar to the turboprop airline aircraft currently in use.

The proposed project would result in changes to three types of noise: construction-related noise, aircraft-related noise, and traffic-related noise.  The methods used for describing existing noise conditions and forecasting the future noise environment rely extensively on computer noise modeling. The noise environment is commonly depicted in terms of lines of equal noise levels, or noise contours. 

The FAA's Integrated Noise Model (INM) Version 7.0b was used to model aviation operations for the Airport for purposes of identifying the extent of aircraft noise exposure. The INM is a large computer program developed to plot noise contours for airports. The program is provided with standard aircraft noise and performance data for over 100 civilian aircraft types that can be tailored to the characteristics of an airport, as well as a database of military aircraft types. Version 7.0b includes an updated database that includes some newer aircraft, the ability to include run-ups in the computations, the ability to include topography in the computations, and the increased differentiation between different types of aircraft (civil, military, and helicopter). Noise contour files from the INM were loaded into the ArcView Geographic Information System (GIS) software for plotting and land use analysis.

The INM program requires the input of the physical and operational characteristics of an airport. Physical characteristics include runway coordinates, airport altitude, and temperature and, optionally, topographical data. Operational characteristics include various types of aircraft data. This includes not only the aircraft types and flight tracks, but also departure procedures, arrival procedures, and stage lengths (flight distance) that are specific to the operations at an airport.  Aircraft data needed to generate noise contours include:

•    number of aircraft operations by type;
•    types of aircraft;
•    day/night time distribution by type;
•    flight tracks;
•    flight track and runway utilization by type;
•    flight profiles;
•    typical operational procedures; and
•    average meteorological conditions.

The noise models address the impacts that construction-related noise, aircraft-related noise, and traffic-related noise would have on areas in the vicinity of the Airport that could be affected. Thus, the noise analysis is not limited to Airport property. As part of the aircraft noise model, both arrivals and departures are included into the parameters used in the model.

Three parcels totaling about 22 acres would be acquired before 2015 to implement the project. These parcels are needed to develop the parallel taxiway and provide for a standard Runway Safety Area for Runway 14/32, and realign a portion of Airport Creek. The County hopes to continue its policy of acquiring property through voluntary sale by the owner.  The sales price for the property is based upon formal appraisals to ensure that property owners receive full market value.  Relocation assistance is also provided, if the property owner wishes.  Some properties must be acquired for the project to be constructed.  If a property owner does not wish to sell, the County will be forced to condemn the property.  Even if the property is condemned, the property owner will still receive full market value and be offered relocation assistance.

The Draft EIR identified four impacts that are considered to be significant and unavoidable. These impacts are: (1) operational increases in Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2030; (2) loss of Airport Creek wildlife movement corridor for large mammals; (3) short-term construction noise impacts; and (4) U.S. 101 freeway operation for 2030. All other impacts identified in the Draft EIR can be mitigated to a less-than-significant level.

Permits and approvals that would be required for the implementation of the proposed project include the following: (1) General Construction Stormwater Permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board; (2) General Industrial Stormwater Permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board; (3) Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; (4) Section 401 Permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board; (5) 1602 Permit from the California Department of Fish and Game; (6) Amended Airport Permit from the State of California Division of Aeronautics; (7) Approval of Airport Master Plan from County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors; and (8) Approval of Amendments to the Air Transportation Element from County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors.

An Airport Master Plan is a study used to determine the long-term maintenance and development requirements for an airport. The 2030 Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport Master Plan includes a variety of project elements that would be implemented at the Airport over the course of the next twenty years. The AMP includes projects related to maintaining and improving Airport safety, and maintaining and upgrading Airport facilities. 

The proposed project is the implementation of the 2030 Airport Master Plan (AMP). The project elements in the AMP are the focus of the EIR document that is required by CEQA.   The EIR describes the proposed project, the existing environmental conditions, the impacts from construction and operation of the proposed project as well as mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate impacts.

The primary goal of an airport master plan is to provide guidance for future airport development, which will provide the facilities needed to satisfy forecast demand, while at the same time balancing the need for airport improvements with local concerns.

An Airport Master Plan typically covers a twenty (20) year time period. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that airport owners or sponsors, such as the County of Sonoma, update airport master plans every 10 years. The previous Master Plan for STS was completed in 1998.

The components of an airport master plan are established by the FAA. They include an inventory, surveys, and data collection; aviation activity forecasts; demand and capacity analysis; determination of facility requirements; identification of issues; development of alternatives and concepts; a financial plan; environmental review/analysis; an implementation plan; and the updating of Airport Layout Plan (ALP) documents in accordance with Federal airport operating and design standards.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends updating Airport Master Plans every 10 years. The County initiated this master plan update to plan for the safe and efficient operation of STS, while addressing airport improvement needs as well as community concerns.

The County of Sonoma, as the owner and operator of the Sonoma County Airport, determines how STS will be developed.  The FAA provides guidance in order to ensure that proposed airport facilities meet important safety standards.

No. The Master Plan update actually forecasts lower numbers of based aircraft, lower levels of aircraft operations, and lower numbers of passengers than the forecasts that were used for the General Plan Air Transportation Element (ATE) and the Sonoma County Comprhensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). A comparison of the three forecasts is provided below*:

Document

ATE

CLUP

DAMP**

Based Aircraft

800

***

447

Operations

General Aviation

240,000

210,000****

156,094

Airlines

15,200

15,000

7,716

Total Operations

255,200

225,000

163,810

Passengers

573,000

***

524,746

*Forecast years through 2020
** DAMP = Draft Airport Master Plan
*** This item not forecasted in the CLUP
**** The CLUP forecasts are though 2010 only

No. The draft Master Plan update does not forecast or call for an expansion of the number of aircraft or the level of activity at STS beyond the limits that were adopted in the Sonoma County General Plan Air Transportation Element (ATE).

The Master Plan consultant analyzed existing facilities and forecast demand for a twenty-year period into the future. Several facility requirements were identified for STS, including extensions of runways 14 and 19, construction of a runway 32 service road, construction of an aircraft rescue and firefighting building, construction of a terminal, rehabilitation of apron areas, relocation of the Air Traffic Control Tower, installation of lights on runway 1-19, and several other projects necessary to maintain current facilities. Several alternative scenarios were developed using various layouts and locations for development. The various recommendations will be analyzed with the goal of maximizing safety and operational efficiency, while minimizing costs and environmental impacts.

No. Longer runways are needed to accommodate 50 to 99-seat Regional Jet (RJ) aircraft. Most airlines wishing to provide service to our community would use Regional Jets, which are suited to our market. RJs are quiet technology aircraft that meet the limits established in the ATE. Due to the performance characteristics of some of the RJs, longer runways are needed in order to (1) provide service at STS, and (2) to increase the number of destinations available from STS.

The runway lengths chosen by the County for further study are a compromise. Longer runways could have been justified based on historical temperatures and their effect on aircraft performance.

There will be no direct costs to the taxpayers of Sonoma County because airport development is paid for through a mix of both federal and local airport funds. These funds include Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Funds from the FAA. AIP Funds are derived from taxes on national and international travel, air cargo taxes, and noncommercial aviation fuel. Ultimately, it is the users of STS who fund the local share for improvements through rent, fees, passenger facility charges and purchases at STS.

Currently, funding for the majority of the projects is as follows:  

Contributor

Percent to Total

Federal Aviation Administration

95%

Sonoma County Airport

5%

Currently, Gulfstream 500s, Global Express jets, and the Boeing Business Jet, (a version of the Boeing 737), are the largest aircraft that operate at STS. These jets are among the quietest aircraft that use STS. These modern aircraft are used for corporate/business activity and have wingspans of approximately 115 feet. Larger aircraft are not anticipated at STS in the future because of runway weight restrictions.

At STS, Runway 14/32 is the preferred runway for takeoffs and landings for the following reasons:

  • Runways are selected based on their alignment with the prevailing wind conditions for that particular area, and our prevailing wind conditions favor this runway.
  • Runway 32 is equipped with an Instrument Landing System (ILS). This allows landings on Runway 32 to occur under lower-visibility conditions.
  • Runway 1-19 does not have lights or any precision landing aids.

The comment period closed on Monday, September 19, 2011.

It is anticipated the Board of Supervisors may take a final vote to certify the Master Plan update in December 2011.

The Master Plan update itself does not cause or result in an increase in aviation activity, however the Master Plan update does forecast an increase in aviation activity. As noted above, the draft Airport Master Plan update forecasts lower numbers of based aircraft, lower levels of aircraft operations, and lower numbers of passengers than the forecasts used for the Sonoma County General Plan Air Transportation Element (ATE) and the Sonoma County Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

The purpose of purchasing additional land is to protect the approaches to the runways and to provide a noise buffer.

STS continues to talk with Alaska and other airlines about adding new destinations to the schedule. Currently Alaska provides service to Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle. There is great demand for service to an eastern hub like Denver, Salt Lake City, or Phoenix, both as destinations and for the connectivity. Las Vegas is also on the list of desired destinations.

The runway extension itself does not go over Airport Creek; however, the extended runway safety area will go over the creek and necessitate the culverting of approximately 1,200 to 1,500 lineal feet of Airport Creek. Note that there will be no impact to Mark West Creek as a result of the Master Plan Update and runway extension.

The comment period closed on September 19, 2011, and the Airport Master Plan was approved by the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors on January 24, 2012.

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The current estimates for the runway safety area improvements, runway extensions, taxiway changes, service road installation and relocation of the Airport’s instrument landing system localizer equipment is $41 million.  This estimate does include the design, construction management, land acquisition, mitigation costs, construction and a reimbursable agreement with the FAA for the relocation of the localizer.  There are no funds currently obligated for this project, and if approved, the funds would be through grants issued in Federal fiscal year 2012 and 2013.  No funding commitments can be made until federal and state environmental approvals are obtained.

95% of the funding is anticipated to come from grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.  The balance of funding will come from Airport revenues.  No County General Fund revenues will be used.  For the Airport’s share of the costs, it is anticipated that the Airport would seek a CalTrans Aeronautics loan for the match, and then pay the loan through passenger facility fees.

The impact from the five flights operated by Alaska Airlines generates $112 million in direct and in-direct economic impact and approximately 414 jobs in the community.  Should the project be approved, airlines agree to serve this market and the 12 daily departures identified occur by 2015, then an additional $170 million economic impact would occur with an additional 479 jobs created in the community.  In addition, to the economic impact from air service, the tenants at the Airport currently generate over $1.4 million in taxes for the County general fund, school districts and special districts per year.

The EIR process is complete. On January 24, 2012, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors took final action and approved certification of the Environmental Impart Report (EIR) and approved the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport Master Plan and related General Plan and Zoning amendments.

Most of the short-term project elements are associated with the extension of the runways, the provision of the runway safety areas, and the ancillary projects that would enable the runway extensions to occur. These projects are proposed to begin in summer 2013. The projects will be completed in two phases. It is anticipated the runway extension may be completed by fall 2014.

It is expected that the short-term project elements would be completed prior to 2015. The long-term project elements are expected to be developed between 2015 and 2030.

The comment period closed on September 19, 2011.

After its August 5, 2011, release date, the DEIR wa circulated for 45 days for review and comment by the public and other interested parties, agencies and organizations.  During this period there was an open house meeting and one planning commission meeting where public comments were accepted. The public comment period closed on September 19, 2011.

For more information about the meetings, please visit Public Information Meetings.

If you were unable to quickly find the information you are looking for, go to the Site Map link listed at the bottom of each page.

If the website or FAQ sections (Airport and Master Plan) did not answer your questions, you may send questions and comments using the form on the Contact page. If we are unable to provide an answer we will refer you to the appropriate agency.