Casper airport officials inform Board of County Commissioners about possible flight service cut
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - COVID-19 is negatively impacting the number of people flying. The Director of The Casper International Airport and a few board members presented what he calls a COVID-19 problem to the Board of Natrona County Commissioners.
Glenn Januska, the Casper Airport Director, said Delta Flights are run by Skywest. Januska explains this service as a risk service. They risk making money or losing money. The Delta connection service to Salt Lake City is the only one at risk of being cut. The proposed minimum revenue guarantee is a way to get this service to stay.
“If there’s a [revenue] loss then the state in our case would cover 40 percent [of the loss] and the community would cover 60 percent,” Januska said. This service has been profitable in the past, but now there arent’ as many people traveling for business. The number and type of travelers will change the amount of financial coverage provided by the community.
Januska said to the Board of Commissioners that The Casper Natrona County Airport is the only airport in the state that doesn’t have any subsidized services. The COVID-19 impact creates a need for a temporary subsidy. “This is strictly a COVID problem and to the extent that there are some COVID-related dollars to solve those that’s the logical place to put those dollars,” Januska said.
Leisure travel is coming back faster than business. Januska expects business travel to pick up by early next year. Based on prior data, there is more business travel into Casper than from Casper to Salt Lake City.
If the flight to Salt Lake City is dropped, the planes used would be transferred to other airports where travel demand is higher. The pilots would also be transferred to other areas. There would also be no available data to support bringing back the flight service at a later date.
“Your Salt Lake flight, I mean what you told us just now sounds like blackmail to me and I don’t like it. If they pull out then we will get somebody else,” said Rob Hendry, a Commissioner.
Even if Commissioners agree to the minimum revenue guarantee there is no assurance that the flight would continue to operate. Commissioners are continuing their discussion.
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