Air Service Enhancement Discussion Will Continue

Note: Campbell County Commissioner Dr. Garry Becker will appear on Newstalk 1270 KIML on June 5th.  He will talk with local radio host Don Carpenter from 8:15 until 9:00 on Thursday morning about frequently asked questions surrounding the topic of air enhancement and the revenue guarantee provided for air service.  A representative from the City of Gillette is being scheduled for the 7 o'clock hour Friday morning (June 6th) to cover the City’s perspective on the issue. 

At the June 3rd, luncheon meeting between the Town of Wright, City of Gillette and Campbell County Board of Commissioners the topic of air enhancement was once again discussed. Commissioners Chairman Mark Christensen said at the root of the discussion in the need to financially back air service or lose it.

“It really is the position that if we do not continue to provide a revenue guarantee we will lose all air service in Campbell County.” ---Christensen

Christensen said an air service enhancement committee made up of community leaders analyzed the issues and came to the conclusion that additional options are needed.

“The existing Brasilia prop aircraft that fly into Gillette have weight restrictions. The weight restrictions coupled with the weather and the reliability with those aircraft has meant that people have been consistently bumped off of flights here.  If we switch to jet air service, which is our proposal right now, we would switch to a regional jet that would allow for fifty passengers. What we are looking at right now is a total contract with SkyWest in the 3.5 million dollar range.”---Cristensen

Christensen said the goal is to have a portion of the cost covered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation through the Air Service Enhancement Program with the remainder to paid for locally.

“The county has continually funded this program for probably the last five years. We are looking for City support.  As proposed currently all air service to Gillette would be upgraded.  Two jets, the only change would be we would cut one Salt Lake flight per day.  If no changes were made and we stayed at the current contract with the Brasilias we would be looking at a 4 million dollar contract.  The subsidy would actually be higher than switching to jet service. “---Christensen

Gillette City Administrator Carter Napier said he was encouraged that city and county leaders appeared to be on the same page through many points of the discussion.

“I was encouraged with regard to the desire to minimize the need for a revenue guarantee ad infinitum. So from that standpoint I think that the council was much more comfortable participating.  I also think that council was very pleased with regard to the service option that the county and the committee seemed to be pursuing as it relates to jet service and getting rid of that propeller service. From those two vantage points it was my sense that the council was much more comfortable they have been in the past.”---Napier

City councilman Forrest Rothleutner said city leaders continued the discussion last night at the council pre meeting.

“City Council at pre meeting today had indicated preliminarily that we would be interested in participating in the air enhancement subsidy that was proposed by the county.” ---Rothleutner
Filed Under :
Community Calendar