It has been a very busy summer at your Flagstaff Airport. As many of you know, we had to close the runway down for seven days in June to perform maintenance. During this closure, crews removed two inches of asphalt from the surface of the runway, replaced it with new asphalt and then painted to the newest standards. This was an extremely aggressive schedule. Several airports around the state were required to perform the same work over the last two years. No other airport was able to perform this work in seven days like Flagstaff, as this overlay normally takes several months. Ours took months, but we did the rest of the work during night closures so that we did not impact the day-to-day flight schedules at the airport.
Even with the shutdown canceling flights, the number of passengers flying out of Flagstaff has increased by 5.4 percent over last year! If you continue to fly out of Flagstaff at this rate, we could see a record number of passengers this year. This is important when we court other carriers to come to Flagstaff. They want to know how many seats they can fill and look to see if we are growing as a market.
This last year, we met with multiple carriers about providing new service and destinations to your airport. The interest is there from a few carriers, but for various reasons they have not made the business decision to start up here. I encourage you to contact the carriers that you would like to have look at our market and let them know you will fly with them. Each time that you fly locally for leisure or business and speak as an ambassador for our airport helps to move us further along.
Many have asked why it takes so long to get another route or an additional airline to come to Flagstaff. It’s not easy – we are competing with several markets and again, filling seats is key. We also realize that connectivity is another big factor for an airline as well as weather. Sometimes flights get cancelled due to the heat in summer (believe it or not) or due to snowy conditions. This is typical in a destination that experiences four seasons.
Moving forward, please continue to look into booking your flights starting in Flagstaff and let us know about your experience so we can share them with our current airline partner. We are competing against every commercial market in the country trying to get their business. We will never give up, we will continue to work diligently and we look forward to seeing you on our next flight.
Thanks for your support, Flagstaff! FBN
By Barney Helmick, Flagstaff Airport Director