Increased runway weight limits at airport could entice additional airlines

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved an increase in weight limits for runways at Western Nebraska Regional Airport, a move that could be important in bringing additional commercial air carriers to the airport. The Scotts Bluff county Airport Authority was told Wednesday the federal agency endorsed increasing the limits from 190,000 pounds to 320,000 pounds.

Airport manager Darwin Skelton says the move will allow for bigger planes and might help entice carriers like Allegiant to commit to a regular schedule of flights. It will also allow for more flights to be diverted to the airport in questionable weather.

The Airport Authority Wednesday approved an increase in landing fees for commercial flights from 50 cents to 55 cents per thousand weight. The fees will be added for the first time on freight companies like UPS and Fedex. Skelton says the increase won't produce a lot of money but will make the local airport's fees consistent with the other airports in the state.

The Airport authority also approved a new yearly lease arrangement with the operators of the Skyport restaurant, effective April first. This lease does not include a subsidy, like the previous arrangement.

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