Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Riverton’s Air Service future may be tied into other communities, Airport Board Told

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Riverton’s commercial air future may have the city linked with at least one other city given trends in the airline industry, Riverton Airport Manager and Public Works Director Kyle Butterfield has told the airport board.

Butterfield recently returned from two airline industry meetings, one in Jackson and one in Lander.

“Airlines are now moving away from the 30 and 50 seat airframes as those are not being manufactured any more, and looking more toward 70 passenger regional jets,” he said. “These are equipment issues nationwide, just not here. By 2020 most 50-seat jets will be retired.”

The good news, Butterfield said, is that the runway improvements now concluding at Riverton Regional will accommodate the larger aircraft. “We’re being proactive on that end,” he said.

The Airport Manager also reported that the airline pilot shortage is now beginning to impact the major carriers.”The problem is moving up the ladder now.”

Airport Board Chairman Dean Peranteaux noted that with pilots bumping up against restrictions in how long they can be in the cockpit means airlines will be consolidating routes, that is, flying to more than one city on a route resulting in fewer non-stop flights. “They’ll be flying larger planes to accommodate the same number of passenger and thus will be looking to add capacity by adding another city to the route,” he said. “These are things we already knew, but its good to finally her it from the air service providers themselves,”

Butterfield also said the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission will soon prioritize airports for funding that is available. The airports in Jackson, Casper and Cody that are already doing well on their own might be further on down the funding list. ”

“I think that would work in our favor,” he said.

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