(Riverton, Wyo.) – Riverton Regional Airport is in real danger of slipping below the 10,000 passenger enplanement mark for the first time in over a decade this year. Through June, enplanements have totaled 4.052, compared to 6,121 one year ago. Airport manager Paul Griffin said that the airport would only reach around 8,000 enplanements by the end of the year at the present rate.
The Riverton Airport Board discussed the enplanement issue at its Friday meeting and, despite the low passenger numbers to date, there is some good news.
Griffin noted that service from the airport’s only commercial air carrier, Great Lakes Aviation, has increased substantially from the first quarter of the year when one-third to one-half of all flights were cancelled. A new Federal Aviation Administration rule requires all pilots to have 1,500 flight hours. Previously, the co-pilots could fly with 250 hours to build up their time in the cockpit.
“There were only 12 cancellations in June out of 150 departures,” he said, “and only five of those were maintenance.”
Griffin said that since Great Lakes paired Riverton with Worland on flights to Denver, flight reliability had dramatically increased. Worland’s service is subsidized and guaranteed under the Essential Air Service Program.
“We are fortunate to have Great Lakes while other airports are losing service,” City Council member Richard Gard said at the meeting. “They are getting better and we need to try to get people to switch back from Casper and Denver to using Riverton again.”
Griffin said it was his belief that Great Lakes flights were running at about half capacity or better in the past month.
“Things are better, Great Lakes is doing better, and we need to let people know,” said Airport Board Chairman Dean Peranteaux.