Friday, December 19, 2014

Riverton Regional Airport (KRIW) to fall 2,000 passengers short of 10,000 enplanements this year

Riverton Regional Airport Manager Paul Griffin

(Riverton, Wyo.) – To no one’s surprise, enplanements at Riverton Regional Airport will come in around 8,000 passengers this year, some 2,000 short for the airport to qualify for a $1-million FAA grant for airport infrastructure.

Airport Manager Paul Griffin said at the end of November, the airport had enplaned 7,271 passengers, compared with 12,337 at that same time last year.

In the first quarter of this year, flight cancellations by Great Lakes Airlines were running up to 60 percent, which caused a big dip in the numbers that the airport could not recover.

“We are not alone as Sheridan and Cheyenne are in the same boat due to the pilot shortage and FAA mandate for crews and hours,” Griffin said. “Hopefully legislative action will correct this in the years ahead.”

With bad weather closing in the airport several days last month and with pilot shortage issues, Griffin said the number of flight cancellations by Great Lakes Airlines in November totaled 23. That compared to only 12 in October.

The good news in those statistics, according to Airport Board Member Bob Steen, is that the on-time performance of Great Lakes at Riverton Regional has been 76 percent, with only 10 percent of flights being late and five percent of flights cancelled.

Griffin said the airport is being served with 19 passenger Beech airframes and that some Brasilias have also flown in.

“During the fog events of the past two days, Great Lakes has been overflying us and going direct from Denver to Worland and back. We hope the fog lifts soon.”

Board Chairman Dean Peranteaux said communication from Great Lakes’ local airport staff has been good. “They go out of their way to communicate with passengers, sometimes two to three days out. Sometimes they don’t know a flight isn’t coming in until that very day,” he said.

Peranteaux said Great Lakes executives have not been returning his calls since October. “Sadly, there is not a lot of opportunity for Great Lakes to go out of its way to make sure flights go into and out of Riverton,” he said. “They are losing pilots in the double digits and back in October they only had two new pilots coming in.”

The pilot shortage hit most national commuter airlines after the FAA increased the right seat, or co-pilot, requirements from 250 hours to 1,500 hours.

A county-wide task force looking into how to enhance commercial air service at the airport is working on establishing itself as a non-profit organization to assist its fund raising efforts to provide a revenue guarantee for any future air service enhancements. The Task Force is working with Wyoming Aeronautics to identify a potential second carrier for the airport.

- Original article can be found at:

Former Airport Board Chairman Jim Matson was honored by the Board for his long service to the airport. The plaque of appreciation included “Heartfelt Congratulations and a sincere thank you.” Matson served as the chairman of the board for some eight years from 2006 to this year before he resigned due to health concerns. He had been an airport board member since 1999.

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