LEWISTON – SkyWest is adding a second daily Lewiston-Salt Lake City flight today after passenger numbers on the route jumped in June.
The new flight arrives at 6 p.m. and stays overnight at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport before leaving the next day at 7:45 a.m., Airport Director Michael Isaacs said. The expansion of service follows some of the lowest usage of the Lewiston airport.
Only 113 passengers boarded flights in April. That number grew to 287 in May and jumped to 621 in June, still well below normal levels of more than 3,000 passengers departing per day for this time of year, he said.
The low demand in the spring prompted SkyWest to limit its service to a single inbound and outbound flight that was only running five days a week in May before it was restored to seven days a week.
The lower level of activity at the transportation hub has hurt income. But the airport expects it will spend more on maintenance and operations in the coming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, compared with this fiscal year.
The airport estimates its revenue for fiscal year 2021 will be $631,470, compared with a projection of $764,070 for fiscal year 2020, according to a preliminary budget set by the airport authority board last week.The loss is in parking fees, concession and franchise revenue, landing fees and fuel taxes, but will be more than made up for with $249,350 from the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The airport will seek the same amount from its owners, the city of Lewiston and Nez Perce County, as it did last year for maintenance and operations, $209,500 each.
Those funds would support a rise in the 2021 fiscal year maintenance and operations budget to $1.3 million, from $1.14 million for the present fiscal year.
One of the largest increases is for employee compensation, which would go from $420,850 in this fiscal year to $517,160 next year.
A number of special projects are planned for fiscal year 2021, with most of them being covered by CARES Act money.
Among them are air service marketing, $200,000; replacement of a tractor and mower, $150,000; and terminal improvements to help with social distancing in the lines where passengers go through security, $125,000.
Airport officials also hope to see more construction on 20 acres on the south side of the airport, where they want developers to construct buildings for aviation businesses and hangars to store airplanes.
They are hoping the city and county will contribute as much as $250,000 each to the effort to add taxi lanes and utilities as the ground is leased.
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