The agreement was effective May 5. As with past deals, the new agreement will require subsidizing with money raised both locally and at the state level. The Wyoming Department of Transportation's State Aeronautics Division must get on board too, …
Ticket prices for flights from Cody to Denver will be more comparable to those in Billings, and United Airlines will depart from Cody to Denver at 8 a.m. for at least the next six months under a new agreement hammered out between the Cody Yellowstone Air Improvement Resources, or CYAIR, and United Airlines.United will provide a 50-passenger regional jet that can make the flight 30 minutes faster than the old United plane, said James Klessens, board member and CEO/president of Forward Cody.
The agreement was effective May 5. As with past deals, the new agreement will require subsidizing with money raised both locally and at the state level. The Wyoming Department of Transportation's State Aeronautics Division must get on board too, said Hank Coe, CYAIR board member and state senator.
A lion's share of a revenue guarantee for the airline outlined in the agreement is put up by Wyoming Department of Transportation's State Aeronautics Division through the Wyoming Air Enhancement Program grants. The program provides subsidies designed to keep commercial airlines landing in airports across Wyoming.
Coe said he believes Aeronautics will agree to the arrangement.
“I think we got a real shot,” he said.
As part of the deal with United, Klessens said he was not allowed to disclose what Aeronautics' match would be.
The local match to be raised by county and municipal governments and businesses is $155,000, Klessens said.
According to a May 7 CYAIR news release, one-way ticket prices from Yellowstone Regional Airport to Denver will be $10 to $40 higher than Billings, depending on when the ticket is purchased and seat availability.
“And you don't have to drive for two hours to get on the plane,” Coe added.
Catching a flight to Denver from Yellowstone Regional Airport first thing in the morning makes travel much easier for people hoping to grab flights from Denver to points east, Klessens said.
For instance, passengers flying out of Cody at 1 p.m., can't catch a flight to LaGuardia, N.Y., until midnight, Klessens said.
In 2009, 48,500 Big Horn Basin passengers seeking passage to Denver boarded flights from Billings, while 28,000 Basin passengers flew out of Yellowstone Regional, Klessens said.
The more tickets purchased at Yellowstone Regional, the less subsidy money must be raised locally and from the Aeronautics Divisions, Klessens said.
The arrangement with United puts CYAIR in a better position to negotiate with Delta Airlines over flights to Salt Lake City, Klessens said.