2015 Riverton Airport Boardings down over 10,000; Fewer flight cancellations noted

As it was suspected, Riverton's 2015 airport boardings failed to reach the 5,000 enplanement mark this past year. They even failed to hit 4,000. Total passenger boardings at Riverton Regional Airport totaled 3,632 passengers. That compares with 7,842 in 2014 and 13,762 in 2013. "We know the passengers are still here, they are just driving to other airports," said Airport Division Manager Paul Griffin at Friday's Riverton Airport Board meeting. But Griffin also had a sliver lining in his report. While Great Lakes Airlines continues to serve Worland and Riverton with nine-passenger Beechcraft 1900s, he said the number of cancelled flights in December dropped to only 10 fights out 110 scheduled landings. Three of those cancellations were due to weather. One was a fly-by due to weather and the other five were pre-cancellations due to pilot shortages during the Christmas season, which allowed travelers to make alternate plans in advance. Still, Griffin said that despite the fewer missed flights, Riverton will be losing two of its flights, the one that comes in Tuesday night and flies out Wednesday morning, and the late Saturday flight that leaves Sunday morning. "It's due to the pilot shortage," he said. "I've been told that once a Great Lakes pilot reaches that magic 1,500 hours number, they leave for bigger airlines who are still hiring." Airport Board Chairman Dean Peranteaux said with the nine-passenger aircraft, "it's impossible for us to bring the numbers up." He noted that a meeting of the Fremont Air Service Team has been set for this coming Thursday to continue discussions about enhancing the local air serivce. Riverton's flights began slipping when the new FAA pilot time rules went into effect two years ago, and because of the airports main runway reconstruction this summer. The new facilities are now in place with final FAA approval to come in February. *Feature Photo: Passengers boarded a Great Lakes Flight earlier this year following a snow storm in Riverton. (Pitchengine Communities) * *#county10 #springcity #news *