Tahoe Air files for jet service
Tahoe Air Corp. has just taken a key step in providing scheduled air service to Lake Tahoe, according to Mark Sando, the company’s executive vice president.
However, some large strides remain.
Tahoe Air announced Tuesday that it officially filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., for a certificate authorizing Tahoe Air to provide daily nonstop jet service from the Lake Tahoe Airport to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Tahoe Air is the first Lake Tahoe airline to file for the DOT certification, Sando said.
“We’re obviously very excited about the DOT filing, as this moves us a step closer to making the Tahoe Air vision a reality,” Sando said. “It also opens the way for Tahoe Air to pursue our (Federal Aviation Administration) 121 operating certificate, another vital step in the airline’s development.”
With the DOT and FAA certification, Sando said, Tahoe Air could be providing service as early as June.
Tahoe Air plans to file for FAA approval in January. Sando said one step Tahoe Air needs to take before filing with FAA is to identify a specific aircraft it will use. Tahoe Air plans to lease MD80-type aircraft, which will hold about 120 people, but the company hasn’t yet obtained the use of a specific plane.
Another hurdle for Tahoe Air is money. Although the company can file for FAA and DOT approval, it cannot actually start air service until it raises more than $8 million.
Capitol Bay Securities, a Northern California brokerage firm, is raising the money. Sando said he could not disclose how much has been raised so far.
The Zephyr Cove-based Tahoe Air, which started operation in September 1996, has about five employees now. That number will grow to about 140 by the time air service is provided, Sando said, and many of those should be South Shore residents.
Tahoe Air expects the service to grow gradually and expand to other popular West Coast destinations.
Sando said support for the airline has been strong.
“We’ve been most encouraged by the overwhelming positive response to Tahoe Air in the local business and investment communities here in the Tahoe Basin, as well as Northern California,” he said. “The region is very enthusiastic about its first, true homegrown airline, as are travel agents, tour operators and other key groups we’ve spoken with.”
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