Reno-Tahoe International Airport officials Tuesday put out a “call to action” for community support for its long-range goal of adding more flights.
“We need help when we look at the competition,” President/CEO Marily Mora said in outlining the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority’s five-year Comprehensive Strategic Plan to a breakfast meeting of business people and others.
She cited the challenge to mid-sized airports like Reno, providing data showing this area’s shrinking market since 2005, notably one-third fewer air carriers, a 25 percent drop in destinations served, and a 32 percent decline in daily departures.
All, Mora said, reflect airlines’ increasing willingness to abandon markets that aren’t profitable.
She said that under federal rules, the airport authority is limited in what it can do financially, and she stopped short of directly asking for financial support.
But she outlined examples of how other locales are responding to the challenge of filling planes and boosting flights, including creating “travel banks,” money set in escrow for financing future flights. She offered examples of what other regions are doing, including:
• Salt Lake City, which received $850,000 from the state of Utah for service to Paris.
• Baltimore, which receives $5.5 million annually from the state of Maryland for service to London.
• Kansas, which provides $5 million annually for developing air service.
• Wyoming, which provides $1.5 million a year for developing air service.
“Compared with other markets, at the end of the day, we have very good air service for the size of our community,” she said.
But with intensifying competition for flights, she added, “The world is very different for us,” and public/private partnerships in other communities are proving to work beyond simply writing checks.
“We can use marketing help from the tourism industry. We need the community’s help,” she said.
In the coming year, Mora said, airport executives will take their case to the community.
“We’ll be on the road, making presentations to the community,” she said. “We are ready for our future. We’re growing up.”