In 4-1 vote, Natrona County renews agreement with SkyWest
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Will Casper-Natrona County International Airport be keeping both of it’s current airlines? Or did the commissioners not renew an agreement on Tuesday’s agenda?
$528,350. That’s the amount that SkyWest asked the county for... And received... For just the first two quarters of this year alone. And now they’re asking the county... For even more.
Utah-based company SkyWest oversees the Delta flights that go in and out of Casper. However, to keep servicing there, they charge the state and the county a minimum revenue guarantee, or an MRG for short. Commissioner Dave North explains how that works. “What they do is... Different companies come to different places... And they want to make sure that they’re not losing money. So what they do is they ask that that money be put upfront. And if they don’t make that much money, or they have higher expenses, they’re guaranteed that amount at the end of the contract.”
The state and the county has to use funds gathered from taxes to pay the MRG to SkyWest. A company whose market value is currently worth $1.75 Billion. And it’s a concept Commissioner North is not a fan of. “We’re subsidizing a private industry. And not just a private industry but a private company, with tax payer money. And for me personally, I have a hard time with that.”
Going into the third quarter, SkyWest requested over $33,000 total; with roughly $20,000 of that coming from the county. In a 4-1 vote, the Transportation Service Agreement was approved; with the only nay... Coming from North. “We need to go out and recruit other airlines to come in here. We need to be very active about that. We need to go after it, and actually pursue these other airlines that aren’t going to charge us. The biggest difference between the United and the Delta flights, is United actually pays even if their flights aren’t full. So that’s the reason why we have that coverage. The agreement that Delta has with SkyWest is totally different.”
So Casper airport’s two airlines will remain in place for now. Will they ever get a third major airline to start offering service? Time will tell.
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