The Western Nebraska Regional Airport Authority board Wednesday selected SkyWest/United as their choice to continue the Essential Air Service contract for flights between Scottsbluff and Denver.
Airport Manager Raul Aguallo told KNEB News that SkyWest has so much confidence in the route that they have proposed extending the new contract out to three years.
While the contract is actually awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aguallo says the DOT told him that the term of the contract is up to the airline bidding for the route so it was fine with them.
Aguallo says typically they get three or four bidders, but with SkyWest the only airline submitting a bid, the airport got what they really wanted, which is to continue with SkyWest. He says SkyWest is in the business to make money, and Western Nebraska Regional Airport has been increasing their boarding numbers steadily since taking over the route.
Prior to SkyWest/United becoming the Essential Air Carrier, the two previous airlines, Great Lakes and PenAir both struggled with reaching the DOT required boarding numbers due to pilot shortages with constant cancelled flights, leading passenger confidence to drop.
Since taking over as the Essential Air Service provider for the route, United Airlines operating as SkyWest, has shown increased boarding numbers every month and now passenger confidence is at an all time high.
The airport reached their required 10,000 boardings for the year earlier this month, which qualifies them to receive a million dollars that will be used for improvements at the airport.