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    Midday flights resume Thursdays, Saturdays at Central Wyoming Regional Airport beginning next month

    Central Wyoming Regional Airport is getting some of its midday flights back, beginning next month.

    “SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, will offer a second flight to Denver International Airport on Thursdays and Saturdays beginning May 4,” the Fremont Air Service Team announced in a press release Tuesday.

    “This marks the first time since February 2022 that the airport will be served by more than one daily round-trip flight.”

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    Industry troubles

    Riverton city administrator and airport manager Kyle Butterfield said the announcement was “good news to hear” – though he noted that the increase in local flights does not reflect an improvement in the commercial airline industry overall.

    FAST noted in its press release that “communities across the United States have been confronted with reduced levels of commercial air service,” including 14 airports that lost all scheduled flights and 53 airports that lost more than half of their flights over the last two years.

    “When comparing the first quarters of 2019 and 2022, the Regional Airline Association reports that 70 percent of the nation’s airports experienced a reduction in flight departures,” FAST said. “More specifically, 189 airports lost up to 25 percent of their service, and 107 airports lost more than 25 percent of their scheduled service.

    “The existing pilot shortage, accelerated and amplified by pandemic forces, is the main underlying reason behind these contractions.”

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    ‘Strength of partnership’

    Despite the industry-wide difficulties, Butterfield said, “SkyWest was able to (find) some capacity on their aircraft and with their pilots in their Denver market, and they thought of Wyoming.”

    “The fact that SkyWest Airlines sees the potential of our market and is willing to dedicate valuable and limited resources to Fremont County, Wyoming, speaks to our strength of partnership,” he said.

    He also credited “the support of Fremont County residents” who are “using their local airport and supporting it through the half percent optional excise tax for economic development.”

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    “Despite having a reduced schedule in 2022, the airport recorded its third highest number of passengers in the last ten years,” Butterfield said. “Clearly we are proving our market and showing the need for commercial air service to support our businesses and the quality of life we enjoy in Wyoming.”

    He expressed hope that the new midday flight schedule would “steamroll” and eventually lead to the re-establishment of a second daily flight at CWRA.

    “We’re incrementally getting that second flight back,” Butterfield said.

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    FAST chairperson Missy White agreed, calling Tuesday’s announcement a “significant step towards returning to the schedule and frequency our community needs while the airline industry works through the national pilot shortage and other resource limitations.”

    The FAST announcement included the initial schedule for the two additional flights on Thursdays and Saturdays:
    1) Departs DIA at 12:05 p.m. and arrives at CWRA at 1:21 p.m.
    2) Departs CWRA at 1:59 p.m. and arrives at DIA at 3:18 p.m.

    Travelers may begin booking the midday flights on united.com immediately for travel through the end of May, FAST said; for travel beyond May, flight schedules will be updated in the coming weeks to allow for booking. 

    Existing flights continue to be available for booking on united.com for a morning departure and evening return, according to FAST.

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