Tahoe Air’s bank deal brings sky-high hopes | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Air’s bank deal brings sky-high hopes

Michael Schneider, Tribune Staff Writer

Tahoe Air Corporation crossed a hurdle that has stalled many start-up airlines- funding.

The basin-based, start-up airline signed an engagement agreement with Ally Capital Corporation that will see the investment bank raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million for the airline.

“One small step for mankind, one giant step for Tahoe Air,” said Mark Sando, the airline’s on-site project manager.

Ally Capitol, an investment bank with various contacts in the California community as well as nationwide, will get some of its investors to take a stake in the airline, according to Tod Lindner, the bank’s managing director.

“There’s a huge market for this,” Lindner said.

Tahoe Air, formed by a group of airline industry veterans to return commercial service to the Lake Tahoe Airport, hopes by this summer to be flying commercial passengers to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Lake Tahoe Airport has not seen a commercial airline carry passengers onto its runways for nearly two years.

Mitch Barker, public affairs officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, said there is no time frame for attaining certification for an airline.

“We try to accommodate a company’s needs to the best of our ability,” Barker said. “But if there are problems, they must be fixed.”

In order to combat any problems which might arise, Sando said Tahoe Air will begin the certification process by mid-March.

The FAA had decided to cut funding for the airport’s control tower because of lack of activity.

After many Nevada and California representatives and senators pushed for continued funding and city government representatives went to Washington, D.C., to ask for federal money, the FAA decided to partially fund the tower as a weather observation tower. City officials, however, are awaiting written confirmation.

Airport and city officials are optimistic that a return in commercial service would help re-establish full federal funding for the airport.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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