Those attending the Laramie City Council's joint work session with the Albany County Commissioners got a run down of the history of aviation in Wyoming, as well as a look at the economic impact it has in the state.

The  City Council and the County Commissioners invited Secretary of State Ed Murray to give a presentation that he had given on Nov. 14 at the State of Wyoming Aeronautical Conference on the importance of aviation to Wyoming and Laramie in particular during their work session on Tuesday night.

Murray touched on the history of aviation in Wyoming and then continued on to speak about how critical air service was to Wyoming’s economic development.

Murray began with a brief history of aviation in Wyoming, beginning 1919 the year after World War I ended and the Wyoming pilots who flew in the war took up flying for the U.S. Air Mail Service – called “Cowboys of the Air.” Murray said air mail became very important in Wyoming and Cheyenne eventually became a national hub for air mail. Wyoming, Cheyenne in particular, Murray said, was one of the mid-transcontinental mid-stops between San Francisco and New York and then emerged as the main transport and aviation center in the United States once the U.S. government privatized the air mail service.

Murray said his grandfather was one of those pilots and it was what brought him to Wyoming. He said those pilots often faced dangerous conditions.

Murray went on to highlight the importance that aviation has continued to have in Wyoming, particularly economic importance and the reasons Wyoming communities need to prioritize improving aviation services.

“We are at a point in this state where we can go forward only with a lot of energy and leadership in taking our aviation industry and airline service to that level which will result in good things for Wyoming,” Murray said.

Laramie, Murray said, is a very good model for doing just that. He said Laramie’s reliable air service has opened up many opportunities for Laramie and Albany County as well as the rest of the state and was a good example of what other Wyoming towns can do.

“I can tell you that people come to Laramie to catch your SkyWest, your United Express, because it is so reliable,” Murray said. “Your aircraft and the certainty is that which doesn’t exist elsewhere in the state, including the capitol city.”

The reliable air service leads to an entrepreneurial environment, which Murray said leads to growth and facilitates free enterprise.

County Commissioner Heber Richardson agreed and said that air service was not a luxury anymore, it was necessary in order to do business at the speeds it is conducted today. Murray said air service was as critical as infrastructure such as health care and education. Murray urged Laramie to continue to prioritize air service and to continue looking for ways to further develop it.