IYK moves forward in restoring air service
News Review Staff Writer
With the award of a $450,000 grant to assist the restoration of air service at Inyokern Airport, General Manager Scott Seymour outlined the timeline and scope of the long-awaited return of commercial flights out of IYK.
Seymour noted that, since IYK lost service in 2013, the commuter air service market has undergone significant changes that have made it difficult for remote communities to gain access to service. IYK hired a consultant to pursue a grant through the Department of Transportation to help offset costs of reestablishing the service, but did not make the cut the first two rounds.
This year the pool of funding was reduced by almost half, but Seymour said he had a good feeling about Inyokern’s prospects and wanted to try a third time. He said the community came together with a great show of support in letters, cash and in-kind contributions, to which he partly attributed the success.
“I cannot thank our community enough for all they did,” said Seymour. “We are going to make the money go as far as we can.”
Airport officials are in the process of negotiating fares and scheduling with Mokulele Airlines, which operates a nine-seater aircraft out of Hawaii.
Seymour said IYK hopes to restart service by October with three flights per day to Los Angeles International Airport.
Tentative departure times will be 9:15 a.m., noon and 4:30 p.m.
“I’ve also put in a formal request to the Transportation Security Authority to restart screening.” However, he said, TSA probably will not arrive until after the first of the year. In the meantime, passengers will enter LAX on the nonsecure side and be transported to the gates to begin the screening process after they land.
Seymour estimated that start-up fares will be anywhere from $39 to $99 each way.
While it is possible that Mokulele will add flights, the only aircraft in its fleet is the Grand Caravan with a maximum seating of nine passengers, said Seymour,.
Additional details will be reported as they become available.Story First Published: 2016-07-15