Proposed Cuts Could Eliminate Laramie Air Service
The Laramie Regional Airport would no longer offer daily air service to Denver, under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
The newly released budget would eliminate the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies so commercial carriers can serve rural, less lucrative communities in the United States.
Currently, SkyWest Airlines receives $2.18 million from the U.S Department of Transportation to serve Laramie.
“If it was eliminated it would be hard for Laramie to have any kind of air service at all,” says Jack Skinner, Laramie Regional Airport manager. “A lot of these rural airports rely on subsidies to connect to a major hub like Denver.”
Skinner says all of the current SkyWest flights go to Denver, with two flights to and from Denver every weekday and one flight on Saturday and Sunday.
Skinner said this issue has come up before several times and SkyWest Airlines has continued to receive funding.
“I’m optimistic that it will continue to receive funding, my feeling is that our congressional delegation supports the Essential Air Service and it will get funded,” Skinner said.
Skinner said the public in Laramie has supported the air service quite well and the numbers are up from previous years.
“Our numbers are up and SkyWest is pleased with serving Laramie,” Skinner said. “They provide excellent service – it’s a successful program and I hope it continues.”
University of Wyoming Director of Institutional Communications Chad Baldwin said the university would be significantly impacted if LRA was no longer able to provide air service.
“Their quality air service is very important to UW,” Baldwin said. “Many students, faculty and staff use that air service.”
Baldwin said he was not sure what would happen should the service be eliminated.
Laramie’s economy may also take a hit should the service be eliminated. According to a 2013 study funded by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, LRA employs over 170 people and has an economic impact of more than $20 million a year.