Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CRJs approved, not expected soon

FAA decision important for future, airport officials say


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

SkyWest Airlines has received approval to fly a regional jet into the Friedman Memorial Airport, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority has learned officially.

“The final environmental assessment has been published and signed,” said airport manager Rick Baird in an authority meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6. “The environmental assessment is complete and in the books.”

The process began earlier this year when SkyWest airlines expressed interest in replacing its turboprop Embraer 120 with CRJ 700 regional jets, which would result in fewer total flights coming into the valley without a loss in available seats. 

The report states that if SkyWest were to begin flying CRJ 700 aircraft into Friedman, flight frequency would drop from six daily flights in high season to three, but would add 220 seats annually. 

The environmental assessment released earlier this year stated that the switch would have no significant impact on the surrounding community, and the Federal Aviation Administration agreed last week, giving final approval to SkyWest to begin flights.

However, Baird said that he does not think that the airline will begin their regional jet flights any time soon.

“This [step] was necessary for the company to plan its future,” Baird said in Tuesday’s meeting.

Authority spokeswoman Candice Pate said on Tuesday that the last airport Coffee Talk was “well-attended” and that the authority is planning another one for Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Jesse’s Country Grill in Bellevue. 

The talk will include Baird and take place from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Pate said that there will also be another airport tour scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Reservations are required for the tour and can be obtained by emailing Cecilia@flyfma.com.

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 




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