Local air service enhancement effort gaining steam, Airport Board told Friday morning

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The chair of the Fremont Air Service Team this morning told the Riverton Airport Board that progress is being made with plans to enhance local commercial air service.

“More and more folks are coming to me talking about how the airport can help them recruit new staff and grow their business in addition to the quality of life issues,” Missy White said.

She also noted that the City of Lander is looking at a $200,000 contribution to match what the city of Riverton committed to a revenue guarantee and that the Wyoming Business Council has agreed to help the group hire a grant writer for airport specific federal monies.

“IDEA Inc. in Riverton is having conversations about what kind of infrastructure may be needed, such as an overnight hanger for a commercial aircraft, but nothing is in the works yet, but they are having those conversations.”

White said momentum is growing because people are now realizing “that the 26,000 enplanements we had five years ago are now going elsewhere and with them goes the economic benefit. We want to get that back.”

In response to a question from Airport Board Member Mick Pryor, White said the FAST committee is also looking at how to make a revenue stream for a revenue guarantee more self sustaining. “For example, we are working with entities who cannot contribute funding for a guarantee, but could establish policies that would require their employees or staff to use the local airport whenever possible.”

White noted that the more passengers who book flights with a new air carrier, the less of a revenue guarantee would be needed.

“Airlines are very risk adverse right now, they won’t expand into a new market without a revenue guarantee,” she told the board. “We’re seeking two 50 passenger jets a day to Denver and we’ve been told we’ll need to have $2.1 million in the bank before they’ll consider adding Riverton to their route. It’s not a subsidy, it’s a guarantee.”