POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – At Thursday night’s State of the City address for Pocatello, Mayor Brian Blad talked about the growth of the city’s airport during 2018 and the growth its seen.
The airport saw a successful year in 2018 with consistent passenger growth.
“So in 2018 our enplanement and deplanement numbers were up, which includes all of our revenue and passengers,” said airport manager, Benjamin West. “We were at over 90,000 passengers and that’s a 15 percent increase from 2017 numbers. And every month in 2018, our numbers were up over the previous month in 2017.”
West, who took over management in July after former long-time manager David Allen retired, said he believes a few of the contributing factors for growth were good ticket pricing, good employees and a friendly staff to draw people to fly there. And he added, a big marketing push to get people to fly locally.
As for 2019, West said they have some big improvement projects coming up.
“We’ll be doing a lot of work on our apron area, specifically the actual terminal apron where the airline parks,” West described. “We’re going to do some rehabilitation to strengthen the pavement out there because they’re kind of old. Also, the transient area in front of our FBO, that’s where the GA traffic comes in, and so that apron is going to get some rehabilitation.”
He also added that the apron where the fighter planes and the other aircraft used to fight fires in summer like DC-10s, will have some pavement and rehabilitation work done as well.
The airport has also upgraded all of its lighting to LED, which will cut costs for the airport.
2018 also brought another change for the airport: from March to November, the airport also added a fourth flight.
West said it was taken away for the winter but they hope to bring it back again come spring.
West added that not only airport growth, but continued city growth for Pocatello and Chubbuck has helped its numbers too.
“We’re very excited with all the growth in Bannock County – with Chubbuck and Pocatello – that growth is definitely going to impact the airport,” he said. “The airport’s the gateway to the city. You know, we are known as the transportation gateway here in Southeast Idaho so those numbers are as more people move into the area with the expansion of Northgate, and also the FBI moving in their IT stuff, all that is going to help with the growth of the airport and help keep enplanement numbers up so we’re really excited about that over the next two years.”
West added they will continue to work with the airlines in 2019 to keep up competitive ticket pricing for their flyers.