Tahoe Air gets new partner | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Air gets new partner

Tahoe Air will be flying with a new partner come Friday.

The Tahoe-based airline is linking up with Lorair of Tucson, Ariz., and waving good-bye to TEM, Inc. of Elko, Nev.

Due to “procedural details” in the transition, Tahoe canceled flights scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, impacting about 80 passengers.

“They’ve all been called and given some choices,” said Tom Davis, director of community marketing. “We made other accommodations for them at our expense.”

Tahoe Air officials timed the transition to occur while the Lake Tahoe Airport was repaving its ramp areas. Flights are expected to resume on Friday.

Tahoe Air turned over the Boeing 737-200 aircraft it’s been using back over to TEM on Monday evening. A Lorair Boeing 737-200 will be ready to pick up Tahoe Air’s flight schedule on Friday.

Tahoe Air has been flying under TEM’s FAA 121 license while it pursues its own licensing. TEM owns the aircraft and employs the pilots and flight attendants while Tahoe Air operated with a contract bulk fare agreement.

Tahoe Air will have a similar relationship with Lorair, leasing its aircraft for use in the Tahoe market. Tahoe Air is working on getting aircraft of its own, which Lorair will operate until Tahoe Air obtains its own FAA 121 certification.

Under Lorair, Tahoe Air will operate as a tour operator and a public charter.

“While this is a different operating structure, it is largely transparent to the public, who will continue to book, pay for and receive the same quality air service as before, with very few changes,” Tahoe Air President Bruce Wetsel said. “Our reservations center will be contacting all passengers and re-confirming them on the new charter flights.”

Tahoe Air officials expect to receive their own FAA certification next spring or summer.

“We envision a rapid approval process, as we already meet many of the DOT requirements,” Wetsel said. “Our ultimate goal is to lease new generation Boeing 737 aircraft and operate totally on our own.”

The operating agreement with TEM allowed Tahoe Air to test the market, Wetsel said.

“Now that we’ve proven the viability of air service at Lake Tahoe, having invested over $4 million to prove the market, it’s time to move ahead and vertically integrate by getting our own plane, crews and operating authority.”

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