November 16, 2011
By TIM UNRUH
Salina Municipal Airport workers have seen more airplanes taking off and landing in the past two months, while new equipment has made the operations safer.
Air traffic controllers logged a second busy month in October at the Salina Municipal Airport with more than 9,000 operations – takeoffs and landings – and much of that is due to a spike in training flights from student pilots at Kansas State University at Salina.
Tim Rogers, the Salina Airport Authority executive director, told the board of directors Wednesday morning that the Wildcat fliers are marking a lot of flight time, and the 9,249 operations in October was a 21 percent increase over the same month last year.
“The professional flight program is very active, so active that they need extra aircraft in the fleet,” Rogers said. Some new Cessna 172 airplanes have been added to the K-State fleet to handle demand, he said.
Heavy traffic from flight training should continue next semester, Rogers said, and continue to progress.
SeaPort Airlines reached a new high in October, counting 287 passengers and posting a load factor of 42 percent, meaning an average of nearly four persons boarding per flight.
The air carrier is expected to submit a bid to renew its Essential Air Service contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation. That contract period would begin in April of 2012.
The transportation department has issued an order requesting proposals by Nov. 29. Salina will have an opportunity to submit comments on the proposals.
Source: SALINA JOURNAL