SkyWest cuts service to over a dozen markets, including Pocatello
POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – As part of a system-wide response to declining demand, SkyWest Airlines has announced that it is temporarily reducing service to Pocatello and Twin Falls airports as well as more ‘a dozen other airports served by the regional airline.
Recently, the Pocatello Regional Airport was informed as of November 2 that the Delta flight schedule between Pocatello and Salt Lake City will be reduced to one arrival and one departure per day. The flight will arrive in Pocatello at 12:33 p.m. each day and depart at 1:15 p.m.
“The entire industry has been affected by reduced demand due to the lingering effects of the pandemic,” said Alan Evans, airport manager. “Online meeting has become standard practice in businesses all over the world. We have seen a serious decline in business travel to and from Pocatello, as have other airports affected by SkyWest’s decision. In fact, business travel has fallen all over the United States and around the world.
Evans said he and his staff discussed the schedule change with SkyWest and expressed concern about the reduction in the number of daily flights and the expected flight time. However, SkyWest was unable to accommodate requests for additional flights from the airport or for flight schedule changes.
Evans said SkyWest’s move affects what are known as “risky” markets.
“In ‘risky’ markets, the regional airline, SkyWest in this case, assumes all operating costs to fly these routes, and has more control over prices and schedules. In traditional “contract” markets, the leading airline, Delta Airlines, guarantees SkyWest’s base operating costs for each flight by paying SkyWest a contractual rate to operate each flight, regardless of the number of passengers. Evans said. “Unfortunately, when demand drops, as it does in all affected markets, SkyWest has no choice but to reduce the number of flights. The airline cannot afford to fly these planes to empty when their operating costs are not guaranteed by Delta. Now that leisure travel has plummeted and business travel is declining across the industry, SkyWest has had to make the difficult decision to reduce number of daily flights. “
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad believes this is temporary.
“We have every reason to believe this is a temporary situation,” said Mayor Brian Blad. “SkyWest still has three daily flights scheduled for Christmas week, so you can always go home for Christmas or bring your family. And for now, the airline schedule still shows three daily flights resuming in the spring. The pandemic has affected all of our society, including the airline industry. But we have a great relationship with SkyWest. When traffic increases to profitable levels, they will undoubtedly return to full service.
Blad said the best thing the community can do is be proactive in booking flights from Pocatello for the spring.
“It’s absolutely true that if you do the math, it’s cheaper to ‘Fly Pocatello’ than to drive to Salt Lake City for your flights,” Blad said. “And there’s absolutely no question that it’s much more practical and comfortable, as so many people in the area have discovered. So if you’ve been thinking about flying somewhere this spring, book your flight now. You will save money and help ensure the resumption of regular service as soon as possible.
Anyone wishing to contact SkyWest to discuss their concerns about Pocatello’s reduced schedule can contact SkyWest Corporate Communications HERE.