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Riverton Regional Airport boardings up in 2011
Riverton Regional Airport saw 14,587 enplanements in 2011, up slightly from the 14,542 enplanements in 2010. Photo by Steve Peck

Air boardings up slightly

Feb 14, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer Staff Writer

Travelers at Riverton Regional Airport used its services in nearly the same volume in 2011 as the year before.

Airport manager Bill Urbigkit said last year there were 14,587 enplanements, which is defined as the number of individuals boarding aircraft in Riverton.

This is up slightly from 2010 when there were 14,542 enplanements at Fremont County's only commercial airport.

"So, we've leveled off," Urbigkit said, calling the difference between the last two years "statistically insignificant."

Both years are up from a dip in 2009, which had 13,645 enplanements. The best year for enplanements in recent memory, Urbigkit said, was 2008 with 17,549.

"That was our peak," he said.

The worst years in the past decade or so, he said, followed the terrorist attacks in 2001. In 2002, enplanements dropped to approximately 11,000, just above the Federal Aviation Administration's requirements for financial support.

"We've never dropped below that," Urbigkit said.

Last year saw the total number of departing flights increase by 42 over 2010. There were 1,280 flights out of Riverton Regional in 2011.

Part of the increase, Urbigkit said, was because of the change in size of planes serving the airport. In June, Great Lakes Airlines resumed serving Riverton

primarily with 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D planes instead of the previously used 30-passenger Embraer Brasilia 120s.

Urbigkit said that in the summer months, Great Lakes was good about accommodating more traffic by adding flights, some of which can be attributed to the transportation of Lander-based National Outdoor Leadership School instructors and students.