Boarding numbers at local airport may not meet critical 10,000 number

Once again local airport officials are concerned they may not meet the 10,000 boarding number needed to get a million dollars in airport improvement funding. Western Nebraska Regional Airport Manager Darwin Skelton says it appears the airport will once again be over 9,000, but like last year may fall a few hundred short of the needed number.

Skelton is hoping for a run on Great Lakes Airline passengers prior to and after the Christmas holiday, and there is a casino charter scheduled in December that will push numbers up.

But if the airport does not get the necessary boardings, it will only receive $150,000 in federal airport improvement dollars, not a million dollars, in the next budget cycle. That would make it difficult for the airport to do some of the planned safety measures and other projects required at the airport.

The federal airport improvement dollars come from airplane fuel and ticket taxes, and does not come out of taxes paid by local residents.

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