It seems the sky is the limit with United Airlines operated by SkyWest as boarding numbers continue to soar at Western Nebraska Regional Airport.
Since taking over as the airport’s Essential Air Service Carrier late in January, the airline boarded 23 passengers that month. Then in February, there were 607 boardings, in March they had 832 boardings.
Airport Finance Manager Cheryl Clause told the airport board as of this morning, there have been 552 boardings this month, with another 124 booked between now and Saturday.
Clause also said there is a charter flight this month that will board between 120 and 150 passengers. And with additional boardings in the final 10 days of the month, the airport will be on track to have over 1,000 passenger boardings.
Airport manager Darwin Skelton said, “SkyWest has been doing great. It has been just wonderful. They are reliable, and in and out on time. Yesterday we had a little bit of a delay due to wind in Denver that had nothing to do with us. 99.5% of the time they are spot-on”.
Skelton told KNEB News that increased number of boardings help the airport in a number of ways, including fees that travelers often don’t even see, including a PFC, or Passenger Facility Charge, which is a $4.50 cost that is listed on your ticket. He says almost every airport in the country collects that.
He says 100% of that money is used to help make the airport’s bond payments..
Skelton says the PFC payments they then receive from the DOT are important because it takes less money out of their general fund budget to make those bond payments.
Skelton says the fees the airport charges carriers add up as well, including landing fees, fuel flowage fees, fire department fees…all of which are part of the income necessary to run a regional airport.