Nampa airport may get new air service

An East Idaho company looks at adding regularly scheduled flights.

IDAHO STATE JOURNALAugust 1, 2013 

Officials with a Pocatello-based plane charter service and an economic development agency in Idaho Falls are looking into the possibility of offering regular flights between Nampa and the Idaho Falls and Pocatello airports.

AvCenter and Grow Idaho Falls officials have held one meeting and hope to solicit additional public input in the weeks ahead.

Melvin Wagoner, AvCenter's director of operations, said the service offers charter flights throughout the U.S. and Canada, but officials are now weighing the benefits of flights between eastern and western Idaho. They could offer up to four round trips a week depending on the need.

"In the past, we have not offered a scheduled service to any one location," Wagoner said. "A customer has called us and told us where they need to go."

That could change if officials determine there is enough demand.

"We're trying to develop a connection between East Idaho and West Idaho," said Grow Idaho Falls CEO Linda Martin. She said the flights could particularly benefit people who have to drive four or five hours for business meetings.

"I know we have quite a few senators and representatives who do business in Boise, and (we welcome) people from commerce and agriculture and tourism over here."

Although companies have unsuccessfully tried to offer similar flights in the past, Wagoner said AvCenter has an advantage in that it uses smaller, luxury planes that are easier to fill. The Beechcraft King Air B200 twin-turboprop plane that AvCenter would use for the flights can hold up to eight passengers.

The luxury flights will likely cost a little more than riding on a larger plane, but would help people avoid a lot of drive time.

Martin said they are planning to post an online survey at www.growidahofalls.org. If officials determine there is enough demand, the service could begin relatively soon.

Wagoner agreed.

"If we determine there is a market, we could begin the service quickly. We already have all of the authority, aircrafts and personnel we need," he said.

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