Get Ready to fly out of Riverton

(Riverton, Wyo.) - Momentum seems to be building for an announcement of additional air service at Riverton Regional Airport this fall. On Tuesday, Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver was scheduled to address the county commissioners about their pledge for the revenue guarantee that will be offered to an airline to fly here. "We're getting close to when we'll need it, and I wanted to visit with them and reinforce their pledge," Weaver said after his appearance was postponed. The cities of Lander and Riverton have each pledged $200,000 toward the effort that would include a like county contribution as well. The effort has already garnered a $1.2 million contribution from the WYDOT Aeronautics Enhanced Air Service fund and a $400,000 federal Department of Transportation grant. The subsidy would only be used if the sale of airline tickets did not meet an airline's cost of service here, but the entire amount must be banked before service would begin. "Negotiations are ongoing with our FAST (Fremont Air Service Team) committee to retain Great Lakes Airlines and secure other service," Weaver said, noting that the group has met with officials from Denver Air Connection, a subsidiary commercial passenger airline of Key Lime Air. Key Lime presently serves Riverton Regional with twice a day freight flights for United Parcel Service. The Denver Air Connection recently inked a deal to return commercial air service to Sheridan County Airport. The city and county, the Riverton Airport Board, and local businesses have supported Great Lakes Airline's petition to the Federal Aviation Administration to return service to Riverton and Worland with 19 passenger aircraft. Currently, the airline's Beech 1900 airframes are configured for only nine passengers due to restrictions placed on how many hours are needed for a pilot and co-pilot. The restrictions resulted in a nationwide pilot shortage that has impacted every regional air carrier and resulted in flight cancellations and delays across the board, including locally. The groups have also supported the extension of Worland's Essential Air Service guarantee, which the Department of Transportation is proposing to eliminate. Riverton and Worland are connected by Great Lakes flights and if Worland loses its EIS funding, Riverton's airport could be negatively impacted. IDEA, Inc. Executive Director Kevin Kershisnik confirmed the negotiations Thursday morning, along with other options still under study. "The talks are progressing and moving forward," he said. "We're looking at a fall target date." *Feature Photo: A Denver Air Dornier 30 passenger jet takes on passengers at Sheridan County Airport earlier this winter. Service to Sheridan was restored on November 19th. (Pitchengine Communities) * #county10 #news