Airport team talks to Denver, Salt Lake City airlines
City officials recently traveled to Salt Lake City and Denver to meet with airlines which potentially could provide Lake Tahoe Airport with commercial passenger service.
WinAir, based in Salt Lake City, had an “interesting” meeting with city officials, according to Airport Commissioner Keith Swanson. Swanson attended the meeting along with City Manager Kerry Miller, Council member Tom Davis, and Janis Brand, assistant airport manager.
Swanson said WinAir just began flying commercially in January and currently flies to Long Beach and Sacramento. He said the airline is open to the possibility of flying to Lake Tahoe from Long Beach or Oakland.
Brand said discussions will continue between the airport and WinAir.
“It was one of those meetings where we didn’t know what we were getting into, but we left happy,” Swanson said.
The same group next traveled to Denver where it meet with Frontier Airlines.
Swanson said the South Lake Tahoe contingency was impressed with Frontier, but the airline is more interested in the possibility of providing service from Denver rather than the Bay Area or Southern California.
Brand said Frontier is considering eventually adding San Jose as one of its stops, a location more desirable to city officials. However she pointed out that if Frontier could provide flights from their hub of Denver, then that could connect Tahoe with all the flights that come into the Colorado airport.
Golden West Airlines, which previously served the Lake Tahoe Airport in brighter days, will be back in town.
The Airport Advisory Commission approved a month-to-month lease with the airline.
Brand said Golden West currently only has a couple small passenger planes – holding at most about eight passengers – but is looking to get back into increase its commercial passenger business.
The airline is looking at acquiring a 757, which Brand said was too big because of runway wear to fly out of Tahoe every day. But, she said, they could look at a couple flights a week with the big airplane.
The Lake Tahoe Airport has been without commercial passenger service for more than two years. During that time, city officials have worked to establish a return of the service by hiring a private industry consultant, pursuing side ventures and start-up airlines and traveling to various spots around the country to meet with potential providers.
Although there are claims that service may be coming soon, as of now city officials have little to show for their efforts.
“Keep the faith,” said Airport Commissioner Herschel Davis.
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