(Riverton, WY) – Only one commercial flight has been available per day at Central Wyoming Regional Airport since March, down from two.
The decrease in service is due to “systemwide issues” affecting the commercial airline industry, Fremont Air Service Team chair Missy White said.
“There are not enough pilots in the system,” White said. “That’s been coming for a long time – and COVID probably exacerbated it, but it is not just because of that. … It’s just not having enough pilots, period.”
The schedule change went into effect March 3, she said, leaving only a mid-day flight to Denver in place for local travelers.
Some people preferred that schedule, White said, but most said they “really need” a morning flight out of town in order to arrive at their destinations on the same day.
The local air service team was able to respond to that feedback, White said, modifying the schedule again, effective March 26, so that the daily outbound flight could leave Riverton in the morning.
“Unfortunately, that caused cancellations for the midday flight,” White said. “So people thought … flights just (kept) cancelling all the time.”
White anticipates the single-flight schedule will be in place for “a while.”
“We don’t know when they’ll be able to get enough pilots,” she said. “We’re going to have to be patient about that.”
She acknowledged that “twice a day is a much better schedule,” but White also pointed out that “communities larger than ours are losing service entirely.”
“That is the good news – that we are still connected,” White said.
She credits the state’s Capacity Purchase Agreement program for helping Riverton maintain air service.
“I’m pretty confident that, if we did not have our agreement with the state … we might not have any service,” White said. “Right now, it is saving our skin.”