Sheridan, Riverton aim for May 30 air service agreement

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — Officials hope to have an agreement in place May 30 that will tie Sheridan and Riverton's passenger air service together. With air carrier Great Lakes looking to leave Riverton, that community "had the foresight" to look for another option, Critical Air Service Team President Bruce Garber told the city Monday. CAST recently submitted a grant application to the WYDOT Aeronautics Division for an Air Service Enhancement Program grant for $1.193 million, which will provide continued air service through July of 2017. Fremont County submitted the same grant application, which was approved last month, and the funding with additional dedicated funds, will make up the $3.9 million air service cost CAST and Fremont County will share , if the agreement between the two communities is adopted on May 30. "We decided that it would be a prudent and wise move to enter into discussions with them about consolidating our air service," Garber said. "Especially it allows us to split the revenue guarantee with that community (Riverton) ... which, really, with us consistently filling up half the plane now, that really makes it attractive." Forward Sheridan Executive Director Jay Stender told the council that continued dedication to commercial air service through Key Lime Air/Denver Air Connection establishes that Sheridan and Johnson counties are committed to keeping air service in this region—something the TSA has called for with the announcement that it will return security screening to Sheridan. Since November, the airline has a 97 percent reliability factor—higher than the industry average—and in the last three or four weeks, Sheridan has had a load factor of about 42 percent, Garber said. "We are just getting into the sweet spot we have all been looking forward to with summer travel," he told the council. Johnson County has contributed about $693,000 in ticket sales, he said. John Stopka, Sheridan County Airport Manager, recently told Dally that the Riverton arrangement will be structured as follows: A Denver Air Connection aircraft will originate in Sheridan in the morning, as it does now, but an hour earlier at 7 a.m. It will go from Sheridan to Riverton, pick the people up in Riverton and take them to Denver. The noon flight will come back through Riverton to Sheridan, and for a flight takeoff around 12:45 p.m. flight, Sheridan and Riverton passengers will taken directly from Sheridan to Denver. The aircraft will then hit Riverton first on its evening path, and overnight in Sheridan. Read past coverage on Dally here and here . *Feature photo: The Rockies from the sky. / Pitchengine Communities* #dally #news