These are heady days for Stockton Metropolitan Airport.
Amazon is getting ready to add a third daily Boeing 767 cargo jet flight into the airport.
Allegiant Airlines several months ago launched passenger flights to San Diego in addition to flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The airport has received a $650,000 grant from the federal Department of Transportation to recruit daily air service to Los Angeles. The most likely carrier is Sky West Airlines.
International passenger service to Guadalajara in Mexico is being proposed.
And a recently released study by the University of Pacific notes the airport has a $500 million plus and growing impact on the San Joaquin County economy.
That study shows the airport has helped generate:
u$115.5 million in total labor income primarily in the form of private sector jobs.
u$230.7 million in added value.
u$541.8 million in total output.
u$48.1 million in additional federal, state, and local tax payments.
The UOP report issued by the Eberhardt School of Business Center for Business & Policy Research projects the first year of service to Guadalajara would create 30 jobs and have a $4.1 million economic impact. It would increase to 64 jobs and an $8.9 million impact by the fourth year. Service to Los Angeles International would create 78 jobs and $10.7 million in economic output.
Why all this matters to Manteca is simple. The close proximity to Stockton Metro Airport from downtown Manteca — 8.3 miles either via Airport Way that goes to the airport’s front door or Highway 99 that skirts the eastern edge — gives Manteca a big card for economic development.
The airport is 6.7 miles from downtown Stockton but once travel time is factored into the equation there is essentially no difference. At any rate Stockton Metro Airport is as important to the future of Manteca-Lathrop as it is to Stockton.
As for the San Joaquin-Stanislaus counties, the potential role the airport is positioned to play is enormous.
The two counties have 1.3 million residents within a 30-minute drive of the airport. With Allegiant’s flights alone, passenger traffic at Stockton Metro tripled from 2007 to 2014. The airport is a 20-minute drive at tops for Manteca-Lathrop residents catching a flight. Not only is the car-to-terminal-to-gate walk shorter than parking and shopping at Wal-Mart on a busy day but there is no charge for parking.
And thanks to the emergence of Tracy, Patterson, Manteca, Lathrop, and Stockton as a major distribution center hub located next door to the rich Bay Area market and within 100 miles of 18 million consumers the airport strengthens the region’s economic development hand.
Amazon in February started jumbo cargo flights daily out of Stockton as part of its Prime Service connected with major Amazon distribution centers in nearby Tracy and Patterson.
While passenger growth isn’t expected to rival that of Bay Area airports such as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose or even Sacramento what Stockton Metro offers is the ability to move cargo at a less congested airport that is — at the right time of the day/night — just over an hour from the Silicon Valley, San Jose and San Francisco.
“Stockton Metropolitan Airport is a true economic generator for the County, which will continue to strengthen and grow our business community,” noted San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Chair Moses Zapien of the county-operated facility.
Stockton Metro Airport is just one of the key transit advantages Manteca offers businesses such as distribution centers.
Other transit pluses
besides Stockton Metro
Other transit infrastructure available to businesses in Manteca-Lathrop includes:
The Highway 99 corridor that is known as the “Main Street of California” in terms of the movement of everything from agriculture to consumer products.
Interstate 5 that runs from Mexico to Canada to connect with all major Pacific Coast markets. Interstate 5 runs through Lathrop and Highway 99 through Manteca and are connected by the seven-mile long Highway 120 Bypass.
Union Pacific Railroad has a major rail-to-truck intermodal operation sandwiched between Manteca and Lathrop that has had a major increase in traffic to the point they are preparing to expand the operation.
Santa Fe Railroad also has a major rail-to-truck intermodal operation just 10 miles northeast of Manteca to provide concerns located in Manteca-Lathrop with access to both major rail carriers serving the Western Unified States.
Port of Stockton is 12 miles northwest of Manteca. It is the furthest eastern seaport on the West Cost and supports a wide variety of endeavors from shipping agricultural commodity, fertilizers through firms such as Simplot and importers such as Pier One Imports that maintain distribution centers at the port.
Interstate 205 — with a junction just three miles southwest of Manteca on Interstate 5 — is the major Bay Area connector.
In addition long-range thinking behind the Altamont Corridor Express passenger service envisions a reverse commute. That would allow firms that want to build employment centers away from the pricey and congested Bay Area yet still be close to it to tap into cheaper labor while providing an easy commute from the Bay Area for key management and other staff.