A Great Lakes Brazilia aircraft taxing at Riverton Regional. (EO)

(Riverton, Wyo.) – A major short-term impediment to enhancing air service at Riverton Regional Airport is a major runway reconstruction project slated next year that will close the airport’s main runway for some six weeks.

The main runway will be lowered by 12 feet on the west side to meet minimum runway elevation specifications. During the majority of the April through August time frame, only a portion of the main runway will be available. The cross-wind runway will then be available, but only for Beechcraft 1900s and General Aviation aircraft.

The main runway would not be fully operational until late summer or early fall, even though the work will be staged beginning in April to limit the time the runway would be totally closed.

Missy White of Lander, chair of the Air Service Enhancement Task Force, told the Riverton Airport Board at its last meeting that it would be helpful to pin down the runway closure dates as soon as possible so that businesses who depend on the airport will have a chance to plan.

“Dude Ranches, summer camps, NOLS, and travelers, both business and leisure, will need as much lead time as possible to make alternative arrangements to get their clients in and out,” she said. “Wind River Transportation Authority said they could help with shuttles, but the sooner the better for planning.”

One problem noted with securing enhanced air service is the problem of aging aircraft, especially the Beechcraft 1900s and the Brasilias, which are no longer being built, and that most airlines have eliminated from their fleets. Great Lakes Airlines is still flying the two airframes, but recently only flying the 1900s in to Riverton. The Wyoming Aeronautics Department has suggested that Riverton could support two regional jet flights a day roundtrip from Denver given its past passenger boarding numbers. But such flights would not be possible until the runway project was completed.