At current pace, Riverton Regional won't hit 10,000 boardings this yearMay 21, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer
In the first full year of service through Denver Air Connection, Riverton Regional Airport is on pace to fall short of 10,000 enplanements in 2017.
The benchmark determines whether the airport receives $1 million in federal grant funding.
Enplanements have declined recently due to the impacts of a 2013 pilot regulation from the Federal Aviation Administration on Great Lakes Airlines.
In each of the last two years, however, the 10,000-passenger requirement has been waived by Congressional action -- with strong backing by the Wyoming delegation.
There has yet to be any indication of another waiver this year.
Only 4,291 passengers departed the airport last year, but officials had hoped that the presence of two airlines in town - Denver Air and Great Lakes - would bring the number back above 10,000 in 2017.
Just 2,760 passengers have departed the airport so far this year, though, putting the facility on track for a little more than 8,000 enplanements for the year if trends don't change.
"What I'm hoping is that our enplanement numbers go up with our hotter summer months," airport manager Paul Griffin said Friday.
Enplanement numbers for both airlines grew throughout the second half of 2016, but both have reached plateaus in recent months, with 368 passengers flying on Great Lakes and 308 flying on Denver Air in April.
Great Lakes has flown 1,538 passengers from January to May of 2017, with Denver Air accounting for 1,222.
Ernie Over, a member of the Fremont Air Service Task Force, said there are a number of marketing efforts in the works that aim to boost Denver Air's numbers. The airline plans to offer some tickets priced at $49 for trips to Sheridan, as well as discounted fares for children and a "loyalty program" that offers rewards to frequent fliers.