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Hertz has vacated three of Wyoming’s airports since declaring bankruptcy

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 6:40 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

On May 22nd, Hertz car rentals filed for bankruptcy, with nearly 19 billion of debt and around 700,000 rental cars sitting idle. It is one of the largest bankruptcies to result from the reaction to Covid-19, and the car rental company has now left three of Wyoming’s airports.

The loss of Hertz at Cheyenne, Riverton, and Laramie regional airports has not only affected the people utilizing these travel methods, it’s also caused about 11 lost jobs for the working class of Wyoming.

Tim Barth, Cheyenne Airport Director of Aviation, stated, “It not only hurts the airport and our passengers that travel through, but like many small communities in Wyoming, the Hertz location is more than just an airport location, it provides rental cars not only to our entire community here in Cheyenne, but our entire area of Southeast Wyoming. Everybody from the county all the way over to Laramie is planning on using these rental cars for more than just airline travels.”

The closures have resulted in seven lost jobs in Cheyenne, two in Riverton, and one and a half positions in Laramie, affecting the local markets.

Jack Skinner, Laramie Regional Airport Manager, shared a few ways that it will affect the Laramie area. He stated, “The tourism market, plus even the business market, those people expect to have a car rental at the airport. If they’re flying on a nice commercial jet, they expect to have transportation available at the airport to get into town.”

Central Wyoming Regional Airport Manager, Kyle Butterfield, made note that Hertz’ reason for vacating the airport in Riverton was not due to the performance there, it was just a corporate decision by the car rental company, when they were liquidating their fleet.

“After the first couple months of the pandemic, our Hertz lease was actually doing just as well as it had been prior to the pandemic,” stated Butterfield.

Each lease with Hertz affects the local markets differently, but the one thing in common is lost jobs, and the search for another rental agency to fill their place, without too much gap in coverage. Cheyenne Regional Airport is hoping for Avis Car Rental to fill the vacancy, while Laramie is working tirelessly to have a new agency by the opening of their new terminal in February. A Riverton company, Priceless car rental, was able to quickly fill the gap in Fremont County.

“Ground transportation is a critical component to our airport and the goal that we have as an airport. We want to have great air service, both general aviation and commercial,” added Butterfield. The expectation is that Hertz will be leaving other Wyoming airports in the near future.

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