“The $1 million question is: Will there be enough people to sustain the service?” said Mayor Jim Ledford. “I hope so.” Although there haven’t been operations at the Palmdale terminal since Scenic Airlines pulled out more than a year ago, city and LAWA officials say the facility is better prepared now. The terminal’s lighting has been upgraded, security equipment has been enhanced, and some cosmetic touch-ups give a fresh look. “The opening of L.A./Palmdale on June 7 is a major step toward realizing our city’s goal of a truly regional approach to meeting the growing demand for air travel in Southern California,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. As of Tuesday afternoon, 33 of the 50 seats on the first departing flight had been sold. Among those buying seats was Palmdale spokeswoman Barbara La Fata, who is flying out with her son and daughter for a family reunion. La Fata said she had bought her tickets a few weeks back at $402 apiece round trip, which she felt was right at her price threshold. The convenience and the free parking were also very attractive, she said. PALMDALE – Special fares starting next month were announced on Tuesday by United Airlines as it prepares to roll out service from the L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport terminal to the Bay Area. Starting June 7, round-trip fares, on sale through May 22, include $170 for San Francisco, $248 for Portland, $254 for Denver, $268 for Seattle and $318 for Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. A community open house will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the airport terminal, 41000 20th Street East, as part of the public-relations blitz. A briefing will be held earlier for travel agents. The event, an effort by the city and Los Angeles World Airports, is part of a media campaign to get the word out about the start of United’s service to San Francisco. “I wanted to go out of Palmdale. I wanted to be on that first flight for historic reasons,” La Fata said. “I’ll save $100 in parking right off the bat. That’s worth it to me.” The convenience factor is a chief selling point in the marketing blitz for the new airport operations. That marketing includes full-page ads in newspapers, highlighting the fact travelers don’t have to drive to other airports now. “Why sit in traffic for hours driving to another airport, when L.A./Palmdale is right in our backyard?” Ledford said. Passengers using the regional airport will be able to park within a few feet of the terminal. With the service using regional jets with 50 seats, baggage check-in and security screening should also go much faster than for passengers navigating the crowds at Los Angeles International Airport, Palmdale officials say. LAWA offers up to 30 days of free parking at Palmdale as another incentive. The LAWA and Palmdale marketing blitz targets an audience from Ridgecrest to the Santa Clarita Valley and from Gorman to the western edges of San Bernardino County. The campaign was to include newer and nontraditional advertising, as on Web sites and on parking-space stripes, as well as traditional advertising in newspapers and on TV and radio. Billboards are in place along major boulevards in the Antelope Valley. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!