Denver Air sets new passenger mark in July at Riverton Regional

Aug 27, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

In July, Denver Air Connection had its been month -- as far as Riverton passenger are concerned -- that it's had since beginning service at Riverton Regional Airport in the middle of 2016.

The carriers reported 388 passengers flew from Riverton to Denver and/or Sheridan in July, 22 more passengers than Denver Air's second-best month, March.

Airport board vice chairman Mick Pryor said July was also the airline's best month for revenue generation.

"However, it looks like like August will blow July out of the water for revenue generation," he said.

The numerous charter flights that brought passengers in for the solar eclipse also will count toward the 10,000-passenger-a-year requirement the airport is required to have in order to receive $1 million in federal funds each year.

Through seven months, only 4,800 passengers had flown out of Riverton Regional in 2017. The airport boarded 10,000 passenger or more routinely for decades prior to recent declines.

Meanwhile, Great Lakes Airlines had its worst month in July since September. Great Lakes had been flying more passengers than Denver Air in recent months but had just 241 passenger fly out of Riverton in July.

Forecast Inc., which handles ticket pricing for Denver Air, is now focusing on raising ticket prices in order to bring in more revenue, which would require Riverton, Lander and Fremont County governments to pay less to ensure to the fledgling airline breaks even each year.

The Fremont Air Service Task force is now working to find other money, besides local governmental subsidies, that will provide for future minimum revenue guarantees.

"We know that budgets are tight, and they probably won't be able to do that forever," FAST member Ernie Over said.

Riverton Regional Airport, the county's only commercial airport, saw its busiest day in history in terms of general aviation arrivals on Monday, Aug. 21, as more than 100 private and charter planes arrived with passengers seeking a good view of the total solar eclipse.

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