Boise companies, groups pledge $160,000 toward new East Coast air service

newsroom@idahostatesman.comAugust 21, 2013 

A passenger jet makes it's approach to the Boise Airport this summer at sunset.

CHRIS BUTLER — Chris Butler/Idaho Statesman

Seventeen private companies and organizations have pledged more than $160,000 to support Boise's application for a highly competitive federal grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program.

The Boise Airport is requesting $700,000 with a local match of more than 25 percent that it would use to improve air service from Boise to places east of the Mississippi by adding a connection to an East Coast hub.

Possible airlines and hubs for that service are:

  • American Airlines, New York (JFK)
  • Delta Air Lines, Atlanta
  • United Airlines, Newark, N.J., or Washington, D.C. (Dulles)
  • JetBlue, New York (JFK)

The grant would be used to offset service startup costs and risk during the first one to two years of operation, and to promote the new service, the airport said in a press release.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce asked Boise-area businesses to support the grant. Within about a week, 17 private companies and organizations pledge a total of more than $160,000, with donations ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, the airport said.

Those companies and organizations included:

  • A10 Capital LLC
  • Boise Inc.
  • Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Colliers International
  • Boise Valley Economic Partnership
  • Gardner Co.
  • HDR Inc.
  • Healthwise Inc.
  • United Heritage Insurance
  • Intermountain Gas Co.
  • Idaho Power Co.
  • MWI Veterinary Supply Inc.
  • Thornton Oliver Keller Commercial Real Estate

The City of Boise, State of Idaho Division of Tourism Development and the Greater Boise Auditorium District together pledged another $100,000.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded 33 grants from more than 80 applicants. This year, there are about 60 applicants competing for $11.5 million in available grants, the airport said.

“The importance of the private sector commitment for the grant application ... will be a critical consideration when the DOT is deciding which applications to select for funding," Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said. "It is not enough for a community to want additional air service; there must be a financial commitment to making it successful."

Even if the airport wins a grant, it will not guarantee the service. Airlines will decide whether to serve the route based on their estimate of the route's profitability, the airport said, adding that the funding would still give Boise an advantage over other cities wanting the same service.

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