Friday, September 16, 2016

PenAir staff on the ground in Klamath Falls

Site selector Janet Ady talks with John Barsalou, airport manager of the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, about possible development plans at the airport Thursday.

PenAir’s Regional Manager Northwest Jonathon Peltz and Customer Service Manager Chris Lehrbach were in the terminal of the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport Thursday making preparations for Day One of the aircraft flights scheduled to start Oct. 5.

PenAir has started training employees and Peltz said he plans to staff the airport with a total of 10. Transportation Security Administration employees are set to arrive soon, and could include at least six jobs, for a total of at least 16 new to the area.

TSA equipment could arrive at the airport as early as next week, and Peltz said staff are planning to be ready for the first flight by Oct. 1.

“They’ve assured us that they plan to be ready before we start out,” said Peltz.

“Given the fact that Klamath has been without air service for a couple of years now, there’s a lot of enthusiasm within the community, which is really great to see.”

Peltz has worked in the airline industry for more than 20 years, but said that larger markets don’t often experience the level of gratitude exuded by the Klamath Falls community.

“One thing that’s satisfying is coming into communities like this that have limited or no air service,” Peltz said. “They’re really grateful for you to be there. We’ve had a really, really positive reception so far.”

Lehrbach, who has served in the airline industry for eight years, echoed similar sentiments.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which the community is welcoming PenAir,” Lehrbach said.

“I joined PenAir because it’s a growing company. That’s what I like, helping a company grow.”

There is much to do to get ready for the first flights, according to both Lehrbach and Peltz.

“Everything from making sure we have supplies from copy paper and pens and chairs and things like that, to ensuring that we have all the ground equipment we’ve ordered,” Peltz said.

“Making sure that everything we have is compatible with our aircraft, that we understand how to operate here safely, because every airport is different.”

Maintenance on PenAir aircraft will be based out of Portland, according to Peltz, but a mechanic will be sent to Klamath Falls upon request or need.

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