Talk about a sign of the times… As airports across the USA struggle to hang on to service from the likes of United, Delta, American and Frontier, this report by Fresno’s ABC 30 TV station tells us how one California’s agriculture-reliant San Joaquin Valley is staying on the aviation map.  It might surprise you!

Central California’s Visalia was on the verge of losing all of its airline service, but now a new operator is poised to give locals an option beginning early next year, according to ABC 30’s story.

The aircraft? A turboprop with nine (9) seats.

ABC 30’s report says, “The plane will have two pilots and fly lower since it’s not an air-pressurized plane.”

Pending approvals from the U.S. Department of Transportation, SearPort Airlines will operate two flights a day to Oakland and Burbank, the story says.

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SeaPort will replace Great Lakes Airlines, which is leaving the San Joaquin Valley city about 40 miles south of Fresno 200 north of Los Angeles.

“We hope it can stay,” Visalia Deputy City Manager Eric Frost told ABC 30.

Expect to pay a maximum of $99 for a flight, the story says.

Readers: I haven’t been on a turboprop that small since the last time I jumped out of an airplane at 11,500 feet. Comments?