New Carrier Likely at Laramie Regional Airport
Come October 1st there may be some new planes in town. After getting two bids for Emergency Air Service (EAS), the Laramie Regional Airport has submitted SkyWest Airlines as their top choice of air carrier.
The bids from SkyWest and current service provider Great Lakes Airlines were very close according to Airport Manager Jack Skinner. When it came down to it, Skinner said he’s hoping the reliable service that SkyWest has been able to provide at other regional airports will translate to more people utilizing the daily flights offered in and out of Laramie.
An increase in the number of passengers is needed in order for the carrier that serves Laramie Regional Airport to continue to receive money through the EAS program. Great Lakes has been receiving an annual subsidy of over $1 million dollars, but the requirement of 10,000 emplanements was waived by Congress the last two years. Skinner said the Laramie Regional Airport will end the fiscal year at about 9,100 emplanements and is looking at a significant drop in EAS money if they do not reach the 10,000 mark next year.
Skinner reports that the City of Laramie and several members of the community lent their support to the proposal for SkyWest to become a carrier at Laramie Regional Airport and they are waiting on a response from Washington to see if the switch will be made. Should the bid be given to SkyWest, Skinner predicts that Great Lakes will halt all service to Laramie because they would not get enough subsidy to break even. SkyWest would be required to provide service by October 1, 2012 which is the start of the federal fiscal year.
The Laramie Regional Airport did just receive a $2 million grant to rehabilitate one of their runways. The shorter 6,300 ft runway will have a new surface put on it this fall. Skinner says they are hoping to start work by August so it can be completed by the end of September. The project will not affect the main runway so airport services will continue as normal.