Boise Airport denied grant to help start East Coast route

zkyle@idahostatesman.comOctober 18, 2013 

The Boise Airport’s hunt for an East Coast hub offering non-stop flights will continue without a $700,000 federal grant the airport hoped to win.

The airport applied for a grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program and received pledges for $160,000 in matching funds from 17 local companies and organizations. The pledges were included in the grant application for funds that would provide risk abatement for an airline carrier to establish a non-stop connection to New York, Washington, Charlotte or Atlanta.

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

The airport will continue to seek an East Coast carrier and hub, Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said.

“Air service development is a long-term process,” Hupp said. “It’s something we’re always working on with various airlines about opportunities to and from the Boise market.”

The grant money and pledged funds would have only sweetened a deal for airlines, Hupp said. Airlines must see enough customer demand to justify pulling jets off of other routes or buying new aircraft.

“We’ve had some very productive meetings with airlines talking about opportunities available in Boise, but we have nothing definitive at this point in time,” Hupp said.

The money pledges were contingent on the airport winning the grant and signing a carrier for an east coast route. No checks were written.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce recruited the businesses and organizations that pledged the matching funds. Chamber spokeswoman Caroline Merritt said the enthusiasm among the business community is a positive sign, even if the airport didn’t get this particular grant.

“A non-stop route to the East Coast is important for our business travelers based here in Boise, but it’s also important for businesses considering move to Boise,” Merritt said. “Ease of accessible flights in or out of Boise is a priority for companies looking to relocate.”

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