Our community has demonstrated an economic need and a desire for direct airline service beyond Phoenix. As a result, we have been awarded an $800,000 grant to help us bring in a second air service or have our current airline provide additional destinations out of Flagstaff.
In the two years that Horizon Air served Flagstaff to Los Angeles, the passenger count grew from 44,000 passengers to 65,000 passengers. After the loss of Horizon Air, securing a secondary air service became one of the highest priorities of the Flagstaff City Council. We also found support from a variety of community partners: Flagstaff Forty, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the City of Winslow, as well as the Flagstaff Airport Commission and the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Back in August, our Economic Vitality Division staff submitted the grant application to the Department of Transportation for an $800,000 Small Community Air Service Development Program grant. The new grant was designed to help smaller communities like Flagstaff enhance air service and address issues related to high airfares. The Department of Transportation received 70 grant applications from communities in 34 states. They selected 29 grant proposals, of which 19 were made to communities proposing revenue guarantees and/or marketing support as means to attract new carriers, restore lost service or capacity, and/or provide air travelers with access to additional markets.
All of the selected communities contributed financial resources to the grant projects. Here in Flagstaff, our local contribution is $80,000, which will be used for the purposes of advertising and marketing new routes. The local contributions reflect a commitment that is important to the potential success of the entire DOT grant initiative.
Flagstaff was selected as a first-time grantee because we demonstrated the need for a second air carrier to support our diverse economic needs from business to tourism. We plan to utilize the grant funds to attract a new air service provider through a revenue guarantee to provide air service from Flagstaff to the West Coast and/or Eastern markets. The grant will assist in alleviating the costs associated with the start-up of a new air service provider. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and its community partners believe that the presence of one airline and one direct destination is insufficient to meet the needs of the traveling public, including business travelers, educational institutions, residents, visitors, and other Northern Arizona agencies whose access to the national air transportation system is limited.
We approved this grant award in October. City staff is currently meeting with interested airlines and developing a Request for Proposal to be released in early 2012. FBN