Despite a recent reduction in daily flights, Riverton’s airport is still expected to record more than 10,000 enplanements this year.
“We’re still heading up,” Riverton City Councilmember Kyle Larson said during a regular meeting last week, calling the news “encouraging.”
Airports must enplane at least 10,000 people annually to qualify for funding through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.
Central Wyoming Regional Airport has failed to hit that benchmark for much of the past decade, but the requirement has been waived due to changes in federal pilot-hour requirements that impacted local enplanements.
CWRA didn’t need the waiver in 2020, when SkyWest Airlines started serving Riverton and enplanements finally exceeded the 10,000-passenger mark.
The annual total reached more than 15,000 last year.
Then, in March, an ongoing pilot shortage nationwide took away one of the two daily flights that were available in Riverton.
“(The airlines) have the same problem that all the other employers in the United States have, which is they can’t find enough help to do what they need to do,” Riverton City Councilmember Mike Bailey said last week. “(They’re) getting flights cancelled all over the place.”
With only one flight in place, local enplanement numbers for June 2022 fell by almost 360 compared to last year, public works director Kyle Butterfield said.
Last month’s total (1,164) still “essentially matched” the average enplanement numbers recorded for June 2002-2013 though, Butterfield said, noting that those years represent a time “prior to the pilot shortage and other industry issues.”
He anticipates the “reduced capacity (at CWRA) throughout the summer will likely impact year-over-year comparisons for the next few months.”
“That being said, despite operating with less capacity, we are still trending to exceed the 10,000 enplanement threshold,” Butterfield said.
For more information call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.