Through separate actions at a recent Cody City Council meeting, city officials supported Yellowstone Regional Airport by agreeing to serve as a grant sponsor and by formally acknowledging the airport as an important public benefit.
The council passed a motion to sponsor a $1.87 million Federal Aviation Administration grant for expansion of a commercial service apron at Yellowstone Regional Airport.
According to the grant application, the FAA will pay 93.75 percent of incurred costs. The council motion did not commit additional money from the city budget.
Cody airport manager Bob Hooper said the expanded apron, where passengers and cargo are loaded, will provide more parking space for passenger jets. He added that when the new airport was built, money wasn’t available to build the apron as large as needed.
“We knew we would have to add the additional parking area,” he said.
Hooper said a contractor is lined up and ready to start working on the project consisting of 2-foot-thick concrete to accommodate airplane weight. The job includes crossing existing concrete to provide electrical service to the new area, and an upgrade to LED lighting.
Briefly addressing airport activity, Hooper said passenger numbers are up 6 percent with all flights full. United plans to add a third daily flight on Thursdays and a fourth flight on Saturdays and Sundays.
Flights started to fill up earlier than usual this year, he said.
“Usually things don’t fill up until the middle of June,” he said.
Recognizing the importance of Cody’s regional air service, Mayor Matt Hall proclaimed June as General Aviation Appreciation Month in Cody, citing YRA as a “vital strategic resource” to the City of Cody.
The proclamation says general aviation and the Yellowstone Regional Airport have an “immense economic impact” on Cody and that general aviation not only supports Wyoming’s economy, it “transports business travelers to their destinations” and “improves overall quality of life by supporting emergency medical and health care services, law enforcement, firefighting and disaster relief.”