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United Airlines Stopping Service in Santa Maria Raises Questions of Economic Impact

WATCH KCOY 12: Economic Impact Left Behind by United Airlines

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – United Airlines and the Santa Maria Aiport will soon be parting ways. Earlier, this week, airport officials confirmed United Airlines will no longer be flying in or our to the airport after October 5th.

For businesses like Pepper Garcia’s they predict there will be fewer people to serve.

“When the flights from United come we see a lot of travelers come into Pepper Garcia’s before they take their flight,” says General Manager Jose Gonzalez.

He says Pepper Garcia’s has been in the airport for more than 20 years. It’s the only restaurant inside the terminal.

Gonzalez says when flights get delayed business usually picks up.

“There’s 15, 20 people from the flight especially when it’s last to San Francisco its an extra 30 people every day,” he says.

He says while there is a good amount of locals who come to eat at the restaurant, when the flights stop coming in so will the money travelers bring in.

“There will be an impact on our business from those people that travel that’s some loss of business from those travelers,” he says.

Business leaders think the impact won’t be so severe.

“It was a resource that was available mostly to our business traveler folks who need to get in and out and having that service going away is disappointing,” says Glenn Morris, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Morris says he doesn’t think stores, hotels and mom and pops will lose business. He says most people who come into Santa Maria to tour drive in instead of flying in.

“The service we were getting wasn’t all that helpful and attractive anyway what we need is an airline partner that will work with us to schedule flights that leave at convenient times,” he says.

He says he looks forward to to working with other carriers and city leaders to bring an airline that can make more stops to more destinations.

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