Nothing new at airport |

Nothing new at airport

There is no new news for the new year regarding scheduled air service at Lake Tahoe Airport.

Tahoe Air service was suspended in November. At last report, officials were reorganizing the company, hoping to be in the air by spring. They could not be reached on Wednesday for an update.

The corporate office phone number gave recorded instructions to those who might still hold tickets and callers who wanted to leave messages. Tahoe Air Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wetsel’s cellular phone was disconnected. The phone number to the company’s spokesman, Paul Murphy, went unanswered.

Allegiant Air officials had nothing new to report. The Fresno-based airline suspended flights in October, stating Tahoe did not have room for two start-up airlines. They reportedly are waiting for Tahoe Air’s situation to play itself out.

“Let’s wait to see what happens,” said Allegiant President Jim Patterson.

“We would love to go back to Tahoe and still believe Tahoe is a viable marketplace. We have not made any decision (about returning) one way or another.”

Allegiant’s new route to Long Beach is doing well, Patterson said, and could become a better connection to Lake Tahoe than Burbank had been.

“There are a lot of skiers and people with ties to Tahoe,” he said.

In the meantime, Lake Tahoe Airport officials and proponents are frustrated.

“I’m still working on Allegiant,” Janis Brand, airport management assistant, said, adding that Allegiant officials had not returned her calls. “Tahoe Air says investors are working with them (to resume flights) in March or April.”

Brand, Airport Manager Richard Jenkins and the city airport development committee are again making the rounds to established airlines that previously showed an interest in flights directly to Lake Tahoe. Those included American Airlines and Frontier. American West had been interested in beginning flights in June 2000, until Tahoe Air and Allegiant Air took off first.

“We’re back to seeing if we can spark any interest,” Brand said. “It’s tough. We’re back to square one.”

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