Great Lakes Airline in Kearney has not been filling their seats, but the airport says other planes and passengers are taking off.
Ten thousand passengers is a number the airport strives for to qualify for a million dollars from the federal government. If they fall short, they will still see some money from the government, but it will be significantly less.
“It stays pretty busy out here,” said Kearney Aviation Center Manager Steve Cole.
From students building up flight hours to crop dusters taking off to corporate planes loading, the Kearney Airport sees more than 25 flights a day.
“There is private and corporate aviation that businesses in town rely on, the flight school with the college, we rely on the airport to put people through flight training,” Cole explained.
There are also dozens of aircraft that are based in Kearney.
“I like it,” said Paul Kenney from Amherst. “It’s so close to home, very convenient, great facility in here and we just like flying out of this location.”
He uses the airport a handful of times a year and says he keeps coming back because the staff is so wonderful.
“They help us load and unload. We’ve had some days where it was really bad weather where we’ve even loaded inside a hangar, so that’s really nice,” he said.
The airport has a partnership with the city for when flights come in and have to fuel up.
“Well the city collects eight cents per gallon of gas that we sell out here, so that adds up,” Cole explained.
That money then goes back into airport improvements. The city helps with the upkeep of the airport grounds, like maintaining the runway conditions and lighting.
“That is basic operations for keeping an airport going and all of that funding is secured. The extra funding helps to grow, build more hangar space, build a nicer and bigger terminal, new fire station, keep the place staffed,” Cole added.
The million dollars from the government would help Kearney compete with bigger airports.
Cole said there’s not really a busy or slow time of year; it’s just what type of aircraft or pilots are out flying.
The Hastings Municipal Airport sees about five to eight flights a day.