Reno airport struggles to lure new airlines |

Reno airport struggles to lure new airlines

The Associated Press

RENO- Reno airport officials say they may offer financial inducements to attract new carriers in hopes of reversing a year of declining passenger traffic.

They’re trying to convince Vanguard Airlines of Kansas City, Mo., to direct its next western flight to Reno instead of Seattle. Inducements could include waiving landing fees or other airport costs for a short period.

Airport Executive Director Krys Bart stresses that inducements are not subsidies.

”I’ll be the first to tell you that subsidy is a dirty word. We are not in any way looking at a subsidy,” she told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Her staff will propose to airport trustees May 17 an inducement formula for Vanguard and any other carriers that would launch new service for Reno.

More U.S. airports are offering financial incentives and Reno might not get more new service unless its competitive, Bart said.

”Demand is what’s going to drive air service,” she added.

Mark Cestari, Vanguard vice president of marketing communication, said analysts for the low-fare airline should make a decision within 30 days on which Western market to serve next.

”Seattle, of course, is a little bigger market and a little more proven market,” Cestari said.

The flight, on a 127-passenger MD-80, would link Reno to Vanguard flights to such cities as Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and New York. Vanguard flies to 14 cities, including Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Waiving the landing fees for what probably would be one flight a day would save Vanguard about $177 each time it landed in Reno, or $5,310 a month at the current rate. Other temporary cost savings also could be considered, such as waiving space rental.

Reno’s largest carrier, Southwest Airlines, makes its route decisions based on a markets profitability and long-term sustainability, not short-term inducements, said Michelle Malovic, area marketing manager for the Dallas-based carrier.

”We want to be able to stand on our own two feet,” Malovic said. ”For us, the flight needs to be profitable. That’s the bottom line.”

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