March 24, 2023 — On Thursday night, the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport sent a press release announcing the return of a second flight to Denver International Airport (DIA). The new flights will be scheduled on Thursdays and Saturdays beginning May 4, 2023. Since February 1, 2022, the airport has been served by a single daily flight to Denver. Currently, the initial schedule is for the additional flight departing Denver at 12:30 p.m. with arrival in Rock Springs at 1:39 p.m. Same-day departures will be at 2:14 p.m. arriving in Denver at 3:36 p.m.
From the press release, “While this restoration of service does not return us to pre-pandemic air service levels, it is a definitive step in
the right direction,” said Devon Brubaker, Airport Director. “The demand for additional capacity in Southwest
Wyoming has been evident since the day the flights were reduced, with well over 80% of available seats sold.”
Brubaker added, “The partial restoration of pre-pandemic capacity at RKS comes as 324 airports, a shocking 76 percent of the
countries’ commercial airports, have substantially less air service than before the pandemic. This is
overwhelmingly due to the pilot shortage and has occurred despite rising passenger demand. On average, these
airports have lost 30 percent of their flights, with the smallest airports suffering the greatest impacts.”
“We are pleased that our airline partner, SkyWest Airlines, recognizes the potential of our market and is
willing to dedicate valuable and limited resources to build our capacity, one step at a time. Additional capacity restoration is possible as our market proves that the demand will continue to meet and/or exceed the available capacity.“
Brubaker noted that demand for pilots is far outpacing the available supply, which further exacerbates the existing shortage. Despite the return to pre-COVID demand for air travel and approximately 9,491 new pilots certificated in the last year, nearly 4,000 pilot qualifications were disrupted during the pandemic, and more than 415 regional aircraft are currently parked and no longer in service.
Brubaker stated in the press release, “The needed solution to cure what ails our industry must come from Congress through regulatory reform. To this end, my colleagues from around the country and I continue to press Congress to take action in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization to address the aviation workforce challenges.”