Friday, July 04, 2014

Western Nebraska Regional Airport (KBFF) officials in jeopardy of reaching 10,000 boardings

Officials at Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff are in jeopardy of reaching 10,000 boardings by the end of the year.

Through the month of June the airport has only reached about 3,200 boardings. Darwin Skelton, airport manager, says the airport averages nearly 5,000 boardings before July.

In an effort to alleviate the boardings crisis, Skelton has asked state representatives to help change the wording in a Federal Aviation Administration regulation that limits the number of flights pilots can operate because of training hours.

If changed that would allow pilots to operate 27 flights a week instead of the current four flights.

In addition, pilots could fly a 19-seater plane instead of a 9-seater.

"Really and truly it's impossible. Because everything has to be so perfect in order to make it work. It's just not real, it's not reality. We just will never make the 10,000 boardings with the 9-seater. It's just not possible," said Skelton.

If the 10,000 boardings are met by the end of the year the federal government will grant $1 million of funding to the airport. If not, the airport will only receive $150,000.

"We rely so much on that million dollars a year that we get to do projects here, that if you don't do that ten-thousand boardings you fall to $150,000. You just can't do anything for $150,000," he said.

Skelton says he's worried about not reaching the boardings in the next six months.

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