Passenger boardings dip by some 1,200 people during 2012 at Riverton Regional Airport

Passengers taking off from Riverton Regional Airport decreased last year over enplanements in 2011. (Ernie Over photo)

Passengers taking off from Riverton Regional Airport decreased last year over enplanements in 2011. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The number of passenger boardings at Riverton Regional Airport declined slightly in the last 12 months, according to an analysis provided to the Airport Board at a meeting Friday morning in Riverton. For the 12 months of 2012, total enplanements war 13,375, compared with 14,587 in 2011. Likewise, the number of passengers flying into Riverton also showed a drop, from 14,421 in 2011 to 13,212 at the end of December, 2012.

Airport manager Bill Urbigkit said an analysis of people flying out of Riverton revealed that 52 percent, just over half, came from a Zip Code other than Riverton’s 82501. He said traffic generated by the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, “represented 20 percent of our traffic  in the summer time, to a point where Great Lakes puts on extra flights then,” he said. Urbigkit also noted that Dubois contributes many passengers to the total, although he did not offer a specific count for that Zip Code.

Bids were opened Friday for a Wildlife Hazard Assessment and Management Plan for the airport property. Airport Division Manager Paul Griffin said the study was necessitated as a followup to the incident in New York in which a commercial jetliner was forced to make a landing in the Hudson River after a flock of birds were sucked into the aircraft’s engines, causing them to stall shortly after takeoff. “We still have birds, foxes and rabbits out there. The successful bidder will have to come here several times and count the wildlife and birds that they see.”

Lowest bid was submitted by Loomacres Wildlife Management, Inc., of Warnerville, New York. The firm has an office in Worland and they named key staff on the project as James Gores and Associates of Riverton. The firm bid $73,000. Other bids, all from out of state firms, came in at $87,871; $100,389, and $106,400. Urbigkit said the bids would have to be reviewed. He said once that is done, a recommendation from staff would be made.

Board members are now officially part of the City of Riverton. The Airport Board had not been officially constituted under the city until action by the City Council earlier this year. Board members decided who would take the four year and two year terms when they are offered reappointments next Tuesday. Chairman Jim Matson and Dean Peranteaux will serve the four year terms with Bob Steen and Cindy Olson taking the two year terms. The terms become effective upon their renomination.