The Pocatello Regional Airport experienced several passenger flights cancelled during the first two months of 2013 due to brutal weather at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), the connecting hub for passenger service. But now that weather is improving, the numbers are continuing an upswing that began in the last quarter of 2012.
This doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. The passenger count has been up since SkyWest began flying larger jets on their most prominent flights to the city.
According to Airport Manager David Allen, the increase in passenger traffic is a direct result of the jet service that was implemented last June, their competitive fares, the level of customer service and a reinvigorated advertising program that is conveying this information to the public.
The flights are supported by a Small Community Air Service Development grant from the US Department of Transportation. The grant and local match funds are used to provide a revenue guarantee to the air carrier and a marketing program.
Allen says lower fares have also helped. He says roundtrip fares to top destinations average $130 less than fares out of Idaho Falls to those same destinations. Those fares, coupled with free parking, are making the airport more of a regional draw.
Allen said flying from Pocatello is even advantageous over flying out of SLC. “People will tell me they don’t like layovers in Salt Lake,” he said, adding, “Usually the layover they describe is three, maybe four hours long. I show them that starting their flight at Salt Lake adds eight hoursAllen went on to say there are advantages to flying from this airport over flying out of Salt Lake City and passengers are starting to see that. The airport often will post price comparisons with other airports on their Facebook page.