Posted on: 04 April 2018
Cheyenne Regional Airport in Wyoming, USA, is seeking a replacement carrier following the suspension of Great Lakes Aviation’s flight operations.
The airline suspended its scheduled passenger flight service on 26 March, citing the pilot shortage as the cause.
Cheyenne mayor, Marian Orr, said the next few weeks will be critical, because the airport has 90 days to secure a replacement carrier or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will de-federalise the checkpoint. Re-establishing the checkpoint, if lost, could take over six months.
On Friday 30 March, the mayor met with officials from the County Commission, City Council, Wyoming Department of Transportation and local business and tourism development organisations to discuss the path forward.
The group agreed the immediate task ahead is to secure a letter of intent from a carrier before the deadline of 24 June to ensure continued TSA checkpoint services.
“Air service is critical infrastructure to the capital city, and thereby needs to be treated and funded as such,” Orr said. “We have the immediate task before us of securing a new carrier and destination and the two best options are an Allegiant Air twice-weekly flight to Las Vegas or a twice-daily route to Dallas/Fort Worth on SkyWest Airlines.”
Orr pointed out an Allegiant flight from neighbouring Loveland/Fort Collins (Northern Colorado Regional Airport) to Las Vegas was successful and drew full flights from passengers along the Front Range. It was discontinued, however, because of the runway length and the necessity for a control tower.
“This is a proven option,” Orr said. “I believe we could easily attract passengers from Colorado, just as they once attracted countless Cheyenne residents for that flight. Given the congestion and cost of parking at Denver International Airport, this could prove to be a winner for us.”
Alternatively, a route to Dallas/Fort Worth would be an attractive option due to Cheyenne’s large military, oil and gas, and wind energy communities.
“We know good money is going down to Denver International Airport every day. If we can capture some of that money by not only keeping it here but enticing our neighbours along the Front Range as well, then that’s nothing but a good thing,” Orr continued. “The voters approved a $17-million-dollar investment in a new air terminal, and we must protect that investment. I believe we are heading in the right direction.”