IYK board reviews air service contract

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Members of the Indian Wells Valley Airport District Board of Directors received an update on the attempt to restore air service before retiring to closed session to review details of a proposed contract with a commuter service vendor during Wednesday night’s special meeting.

According to General Manager Scott Seymour, the board directed consultant Mike Moony to compose a letter to Mokulele Airlines to clarify some of the terms, so that the board can issue a counter proposal.

Seymour said that although IYK will not be able to commit to a start date for air service until the final contract is signed, he believes that air service could start as soon as April.

Moony discussed how changes in FAA regulations created a pilot shortage, which wrought changes in the commuter service industry.

“This is not Skywest-United,” said Moony, referring to the vendor that pulled out of IYK in 2013. Mokulele will have a 9-seater plane that will have limited baggage handling agreements.

On the positive side, he said that Mokulele has a gate position with good access to connecting flights, and will be able to land on the sterile side of LAX, so that commuters do not have to go through security screening again, so long as they have carry-on luggage only.

Because of the $450,000 grant through the Department of Transportation, which is augmented by $106,000 in contributions from local businesses and individuals, IYK will provide incentives and subsidizations that will allow Mokulele to establish a sustainable market in the valley.

Moony said that the primary customers they are targeting are those traveling on business of the Department of Defense.

Seymour said that he could not comment on the route schedule or ticket price until the board signs an agreement with the airline.

Additional details will be reported as they become available.

Story First Published: 2017-01-20