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Worland about to lose its air service subsidy; Possible impact on Riverton raises Red Flag

*Feature Photo: Autumn Hanson snapped this photo of a Great Lakes Flight on the tarmac at Riverton Regional Airport earlier this winter. If Worland loses its EAS subsidy, it could impact Riverton's air service. (Autumn Hanson / Pitchengine Communities) * (Riverton, Wyo.) - The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to end the $2.3 million Essential Air Service subsidy at the Worland Municipal Airport, a decision that could impact Riverton's air service. Public Works Director Kyle Butterfield told the Riverton Airport Board this morning that the decision is being appealed, and he said if that subsidy is pulled from Worland, it would not be good news for Riverton. "It's a bit of a blow," he said. "We are tied at the hip with Worland as we share a flight with them. As the airport staff, this concerns us quite a bit, Worland is a sister city and this will impact our flights if that service goes away." Butterfield asked the Airport Board to write a letter to the FAA in support of Worland, and he indicated that the city will also take that action. He also urged others in the community to take similar action. The deadline for comments is Feb. 24th. "We are helping Worland in any way that we can," he said. Worland Airport Manager Lynn Murdoch was not on duty today, recuperating from the bug that has been going around. Butterfield said the apparent reason that the FAA is using the pull the subsidy is a requirement that the cost of the subsidy not exceed $1,000 per passenger. "With the loss of pilot hours and the cutbacks that resulted from that, they are now over that $1,000 threshold per passenger. In 2013, Worland boarded 2,690 passengers, but in the last two years, since the new pilot hour rules went into effect, the passenger boardings declined in 2014 to 993 and then this past year the slipped even further, to 724. "This is not good news," said board chairman Dean Peranteaux, "we need to do what we can to support them." #county10 #springcity #news #reboot