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Sheridan protests new airline pilot requirements; subsidy announced

Jun 24, 2014 The Associated Press

SHERIDAN -- The Sheridan County commissioners say stricter federal requirements for pilots at small airlines are threatening air service in Sheridan and Buffalo.

The commissioners sent a letter to Wyoming's congressional delegation saying a new requirement that pilots have 1,500 hours of flight time, instead of the previous 250, was arbitrary.

The letter says the requirement has created a critical shortage of pilots for small airlines.

Sheridan County Airport is served by Great Lakes Airlines, which has been hard-hit by the new requirement. Service from Great Lakes also has suffered in Riverton, Worland and Cheyenne.

In Sheridan, the commissioners asked that small airports get a waiver on the minimum number of passengers required to get federal aid if the number is falling because of the pilot shortage.

Sheridan County has agreed to combine with Johnson County to contribute $700,000 to subsidize air service in the region.

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