Airport numbers up |

Airport numbers up

With a general aviation increase of more than 80 percent over last year, Lake Tahoe Airport’s Janis Brand says negotiations with commercial aircraft companies are steadily moving forward.

“I’d venture a guess that the increased (general aviation) activity is due in large part to better weather. We had a tough winter last year for aircraft getting in and out,” said Brand, the airport’s administrative assistant. “I think we also got a little more attention because of more competitive fuel prices.”

Negotiations with commercial carriers are ongoing, albeit slowly and with much caution.

“We don’t want to disappoint the public anymore by making undo predictions, but we’re actively involved in chasing down airlines,” said Robert Attinger, a newly appointed airport commissioner. “I’ve been disappointed a lot but am hopeful that we’re going to have air service soon – in calender year ’99.”

Brand said discussions with America West, Winair and Frontier Air are advancing. She added that interest in the Lake Tahoe Airport is growing in the industry, as word gets out that Tahoe is seeking commercial service.

“It’s not in the center line yet, but it’s looking so much better than before,” Brand said. “We have so much interest now that we never had previously. We’re actually able to talk seriously with major carriers now.”

Attinger said the airport commission is also reviewing proposals from air ambulance providers interested in bringing their services to the airport.

“One of the things under consideration is to lease hangar space for tentative air ambulance service based out of South Lake Tahoe,” he said.

Attinger is also involved in an advertising project for an 800 number that would give travelers updated information on which cities are served by Tahoe carriers, what airlines travel to Tahoe and flight schedules.

“We want to set up an advertising campaign that we tag onto all the advertising coming out of the Basin,” Attinger said. “It’s going to be generic public service information that does not directly endorse one particular airline but is a way to tell people that commercial air service is established.”

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