Right now, you can only fly direct to Phoenix, San Francisco or Denver from Meadows Field Airport. But after a generous grant – travelers will soon be able to fly from Bakersfield to Dallas, non-stop.
About nine months ago, the Kern County Department of Airports applied for a grant…
“Probably Congressman McCarthy’s support of our grant application was one of the biggest factors,” said Teresa Hitchcock, the interim airport director.
Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced Wednesday, the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grant was awarded to Bakersfield in the form of $500,000. Allowing Meadows Field Airport to begin offering one more direct flight: Bakersfield to DFW.
The grant is a competitive one. The SCASDP awards a maximum of 40 grants per year, and only four grants per state. Congressman McCarthy was excited to make the announcement Wednesday, issuing the following statement:
“Our community knows Meadows Field as the gateway that connects our economy and families with the rest of the world. As a growing region, it is absolutely fitting for our airport to increase flight options to airports in new markets. In Texas, Bakersfield has much in common and this new travel option is sure to stimulate the economy and provide additional travel and connecting options given DFW’s hub status. I would like to thank Secretary Chao for approving this investment in our community at Meadows Field, and the County of Kern for its persistence and leadership in pursuing these funds.”
Hitchcock echoed those thoughts, adding that DFW has flights virtually everywhere, making this expansion a huge opportunity for Meadows Field.
Jeff Miller was born and raised in Kern County. He drives a taxi to and from the airport often. “There are a lot of people who fly from Texas to Bakersfield,” he said of his experience driving frequent fliers. “Now, they have to go through San Francisco, Phoenix, or Denver. One of those three cities and there’s nothing direct.”
“There is a lot of business traffic back and forth between our area and Texas. So we believe from an economic perspective that this is a very critical service for us to be adding,” Hitchcock said Wednesday after the news was announced.
Business travelers like Doug Sackett, who traveled 18 hours to get from Tallahassee to Bakersfield, agree.
“A direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth would have skipped me the stop in Phoenix and the monsoon season and dust storms that delayed us getting here tonight,” Sackett said Wednesday night.
The grant money will be used to offset startup costs and advertise the new service. No word yet on how much the roughly three hour direct flight will cost travelers, or how often it will be offered –
“There’s a lot of details to be worked out before the service actually begins,” Hitchcock said.
But the airport estimates, you could see the first plane take off from Bakersfield to Dallas in roughly eight months.