Western Nebraska Regional Airport Thursday hit the required annual 10,000 boarding number to become eligible for $1 million in federal funding for qualified airport projects.
SkyWest, operating as United Express, made its first flight on Jan. 30th of 2018. Since that time, Airport Manager Raul Aguallo tells KNEB News that passengers have shown confidence in the airline and the airport and returned to flying out of Scottsbluff.
Aguallo says with four and three quarters of a month left in the year, to hit that 10,000 number puts them at the pace to be somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000 for the year. He says with 13,500 last year, to keep increasing those numbers is a very good deal for the community.
Prior to SkyWest taking over the route the airport struggled to hit those required numbers.
PenAir had a problem with pilot shortages, leading to frequent cancelled flights and stranding passengers. The airport had to receive waivers because it was unable to meet the required boardings.
Aguallo says SkyWest has had very few breakdowns and the aircraft have been very reliable. He says in two years, aside from weather, they have only had a couple dozen issues with aircraft, which is pretty minimal when you think about the industry nationwide.
For the most part, Aguallo says he is hearing very positive things about United/SkyWest and says when the flying public is happy with the service being provided, they use it.