Although the airline did not make a commitment after the April 2 discussion, airport General Manager Kevin Bumen said the community would continue to make its case.
“It was certainly a productive conversation,” Bumen said. “We’re working on it.”
More meetings with SkyWest, which operates the airport’s United Airlines flights, as well as other airlines, which Bumen declined to disclose, are scheduled for the week of April 21 in Tulsa, Okla., the site of an air development conference.
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“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Bumen said of the process. “There’s a lot that goes into making a decision like this for an airline. They don’t take this lightly.”
It could take months or even several years to establish service, said Bumen, although he acknowledged that a $500,000 federal grant — as part of the airport’s incentive package to be considered by SkyWest — expires early next year.
About $2.1 million in pledges have been given to establish the Denver flight. The funds have come from area businesses, as well as the federal government and the county, which allocated $212,500 to support a two-year revenue guarantee.
“We are moving as quickly as we can this year,” Bumen said. “But airlines move at their own speed.”
In the meantime, he urged the community to continue to use the airport. “The most important thing people can do is consider flying out of SLO whenever possible,” he said.