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While Gillette airport wants to add flights, airline decides

The airport board will meet this afternoon.

Todd Chatfield (LinkedIn)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport could definitely stand to get more flights, Airport Executive Director Todd Chatfield said after the airport board’s last meeting. Yet, the number of flights and their times are not really under the airport’s control. Those are up to SkyWest Airlines.

SkyWest/United Express was slated to offer Gillette’s airport a second flight on Tuesdays and Thursdays in early November, restoring the flight that the airport had lacked for about 18 months, Chatfield said in October.

He said Nov. 14 that everything seems to be going well with the addition of flights. The flights have been about 70% full so far.

“This should pick up in the future as passengers are able to book further in advance for these two added flights,” he said.

Since Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport, which is near Rock Springs, and Central Wyoming Regional Airport, which is close to Riverton, still only have one flight a day, those airports would probably receive priority for flights, according to Chatfield. The airline would likely add a couple more flights per week at those airports if planes become available before they add three flights a day out of Gillette’s.

Back in 2016, the Gillette airport had five flights a day, and during COVID-19 it had three flights a day, he said in October. The airport, which is always trying to get more flights, could easily handle three flights a day, in the morning, afternoon and nighttime.

SkyWest sets the flight rates for passengers, and prices depend on supply and demand, he said. While most of Gillette’s travel is business travel, and businesses can’t always make travel plans well ahead of time, people who want cheap tickets should book months in advance, when there are plenty of available seats on the given flight. The airport in Rapid City, South Dakota, has several flights a day, keeping those prices lower.

“We’re so full that [passengers are] paying premium unless they book months out,” he said.

According to a report that Chatfield will present at the airport board meeting this evening, the airport had 4,383 passengers fly in and out of the airport in September. The total so far this year is 44,163 passengers.

“SkyWest regularly evaluates schedules and may make adjustments based on fleet, network, partner, and passenger needs,” SkyWest Airlines said in a statement Nov. 14. “We are pleased to now offer additional United Express flights from the Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport to Denver. These convenient schedules provide even more access to nearly anywhere in the world via United’s global network.”

The Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport board will meet at 4 p.m. today. Meetings are at the General Aviation Facility, 2000 Airport Road, Building No. 16. To review the agenda, click here.