Sunday, September 24, 2017

Helena Regional (KHLN), Lewis and Clark County, Montana: Airport adds larger flight to Denver, prepares for continued growth

The Helena Regional Airport is offering a larger flight to Denver, which is one of several efforts to respond to a decade of growth.

Airport Director Jeff Wadekamper said the airport has experienced 22 percent growth in the last 10 years and is working on a grant to add more flight options and a terminal expansion next year.

In 2016, the airport saw a record year of growth up 3.5 percent from 2015. Wadekamper said most smaller airports are trying to maintain services, but Helena is ready for additional flights.

“We’re seeing that stable growth,” he said. “Keeping air services is the biggest challenge today.”

The United flight to Denver started operating with a 76 seat Embraer 175 on Sept. 6, which increases the number of seats available by 41 percent per year. Wadekamper said United will completely phase out its 50 seat jets by 2018, making the 76 seat flight permanent. The new jet has a first class section, which Wadekamper said is in high demand.

While some smaller communities are already having trouble filling a 50-seat jet, Wadekamper said United flights out of Helena have been nearly full. This year, flights have been 89 percent full.

“They’ve done very well in Helena,” Wadekamper said.

The airport has diversified its revenue to be less dependent on income from airlines. Wadekamper said 34 percent of the airport’s revenue comes from non-aviation sources like lease income from owning the land Costco, Boeing and the Independent Record sit on.

Delta and Alaska Airlines, the other two airlines operating out of Helena, are also open to growth. Delta recently increased their service to Salt Lake City to a 76-seat jet.

Wadekamper said the airport is planning to expand its terminal. Passengers have been boarding Alaska Airlines flights from the ground, but the decision to bring in a larger jet in the next few years will require another jet bridge.

The number one destination for passengers is Seattle, closely followed by Portland. Wadekamper said the airport is interested in getting back a morning flight to Seattle, which went away several years ago, and adding a flight to Portland. The community has already raised $125,000 as an incentive for airlines to guarantee they won’t lose money when expanding into a new market. The airport is working on a matching grant of $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Once that grant is secured, Wadekamper said the airport will propose Alaska Airlines add another flight to Seattle and one to Portland.

Original article can be found here ➤

Department of Transportation earns innovation award for training videos

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities won the Most Innovative State Award from the National Association of State Aviation Officials for a series of videos focusing on aircraft familiarization for aviation rescue and firefighting personnel. 

DOT’s Todd Hanley and Darcy Perry created the videos. They chose the five most common used aircraft at DOT certified airports. The team worked with Alaska Airlines, Ravn Alaska, PenAir and LifeMed Alaska to make the videos. 

“The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting training videos have changed the way Alaska conducts training and I’m thrilled to see that many airports nationwide are finding them equally beneficial,” said DOT and PF Deputy Commissioner John Binder.

Original article can be found here ➤

Clearfield-Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority welcomes new member, passes budget

Kay Dell’ Antonio of Curwensville, left, is welcomed to the Clearfield-Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority Friday by authority member Joe Barber.

FALLS CREEK — The Clearfield-Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority welcomed a new member Friday and approved the 2018 budget.

On Sept. 5, the Clearfield County Commissioners voted to appoint Kay Dell’ Antonio, of Curwensville, to the airport authority, according to a previously published Courier-Express article.

On Friday, she attended the authority’s regular monthly meeting.

“I’d like to welcome our new member, glad to have you aboard,” authority member Jay Chamberlain said.

“Thank you for the opportunity,” Dell’ Antonio told the authority. “I hope I can contribute a lot.”

Dell’ Antonio, who is a commercial loan officer at CBT Bank, said she hopes to bring her business and banking and finance experience to the authority.

She serves on a number of boards, including the Curwensville Regional Development Corporation, the United Way and the Curwensville Library Building Corporation board.

She wants to promote the airport.

“We’re very fortunate to have it,” she said. With the affordable fares now in place, she thinks the airport needs to be publicized.

Along with authority member Jeff Bellmore, from Clearfield, she hopes to be “a voice for Clearfield” and “a voice for the airport in Clearfield.”

Looking back to what sparked her interest in the authority, Dell’ Antonio said her son, who travels a lot, had some delayed and canceled flights. She discussed it with a friend, who suggested she look into serving on the authority, which had a vacancy.

Airport manager Bob Shaffer then called her, and she decided to give it a try.


The authority passed a 2018 budget which has $640,780 in income and $785,280 in expenses.

The authority will now approach the Jefferson and Clearfield county commissioners about getting allocations. A total of $144,500 is needed in allocations to balance the spending plan. Each county will be asked for $72,250.

The authority will also ask for a one-time allocation of $40,000 from each county to pay off its payables.

Original article ➤