Air travel is important to any community.

Especially in ultra-rural areas like we find here in Wyoming.

Airlines can't find any cost benefits to servicing Wyoming's small communities, so they don't locate hubs there.

To help grow and establish themselves Wyoming communities will strike deals with airlines, promising to pay the shortfall if an airline can't fill enough seats to justify servicing the area.

Sounds good, as long as that subsidy is making a profit for the community.

Is it worth the investment?

Nobody wants to say no.

Natrona County and the city of Casper have paid more than $1.3 million to guarantee SkyWest’s lone flight in and out of Casper/Natrona airport.

SkyWest Airlines and local government officials met to work out continued payments for a single flight to and from Salt Lake City.

If the airline can't have a guarantee to fill the shortfall, they will have to pull that flight.

With help from an in-depth article by Cowboy State Daily, let's look at the numbers.

We start with a $1.3 Million Investment

Information from the commission’s office shows Natrona County has paid $1.355 million for the SkyWest MRG in the past year. Reimbursements from Advance Casper and Wyoming Department of Transportation Aeronautics have totaled $572,014. The county’s net costs to date are $783,227.

The city of Casper has invested $50,000 in a marketing campaign for the flight.

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio
Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

The question before city and county officials: does the area make money on this deal or is the community losing money?

There are still those flights to Denver to consider.

Nobody wants to be a town without air service in and out.

There are definite benefits to the community, but is that benefit enough to make up for the price tag?

Local Pilots Give Wyoming Kids A Free Flight

Does your kid want to be a pilot?

There is no way of knowing unless they get a chance to get in an airplane and get up there.

Thanks to a Wyoming chapter of EAA, (Experimental Aircraft Association), kids in Wheatland Wyoming got that chance this past weekend.

Local pilots offered free rides to all kids, breakfast included.

The hope is that maybe some of these kids will get that urge to want to fly and pursue a career as a pilot.

America needs more pilots.

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

Wheatland Wyoming Flying Adventure

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

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