IYK Airport to build $11.3 M runway

IYK Airport to build $11.3 M runwayScott Seymour, Inyokern Airport, IYK, General Manager, tells us, “Inyokern Airport is doing well compared to a lot of similar type airports. Filming has been extremely low as expected with Covid-19. But involvement with the military has increased with many return customers. We have a new tenant at IYK, Ahern Equipment Rentals, who is primarily here for the rebuilding of the base. The Airport Board and myself are looking forwarding to starting our 11.3 million dollar runway reconstruction project on February 1, 2021. Granite Construction, won the contract as they were the lowest bidder. This project will definitely be a boost to the local economy. Restaurants, hotels, gas stations and other services will benefit. Other local contractors will also be included in the project. Also restoring commercial air service by next year is in our plan. For the most part we are right on course with this year’s budget.” Dan Spurgeon Speaks for the Local Hospitality Industry

Dan Spurgeon, General Manager of Springhill Suites by Marriott, is no newcomer to running a hotel during extreme hardship. In his 45 years in the industry, he has been through a volcano, the dot com bust, a major earthquake, 9/11, and the 2008 financial bust. The pandemic has hit Ridgecrest hard, but compared to the other disasters he experienced the local economy has been able to keep its head above water due to the Federal Government keeping money rolling through the economy. Hotels in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego are suffering. He tells us, “What makes us different is we have an employer of 5000 people that works every day, 365 days a year. That payroll is very consistent. When the base shut down, everybody got paid. Little towns around the valley that don’t have this steady even payroll rolling into their community like we do, they got hurt. In our community, everybody got paid. Even if they weren’t working, they got paid. Our hit wasn’t as difficult. Restaurants have been pounded, salons have been pounded, the movie theater has been pounded. All the things we can’t do in group activity. They have been hurt. We were blessed to be living where we did and everybody has made it through so far because of the actions we did, the employer we have.” Looking ahead to 2021, Dan shares, “What we are seeing in the beginning of 2021, there are some military groups that come out year after year and they are still coming. Those are on the books. Between that and what we anticipate we will see an increase what is deemed demand. Exactly what that looks like, I don’t think anybody has an idea. Will we do well? Absolutely. Covid aside, this will be a great year.” In addition, he adds, “We are just now seeing activity from the billions of dollars that will be spent on repairs on the base. Companies are starting to show. The Navy reconstruction is building a labor facility east of town with 800 rooms. When we get out of the first quarter it will be an easier identifier on exactly what is coming. Until that labor facility shows up, will we have the other people that are considered transitory (anything under 30 days). They may start coming in record numbers. That has not happened yet.” Spurgeon believes, “Resiliency is what makes America America. We can disagree on certain things, but at the end of the day I think we have all locally done a pretty good job on resiliency.”

Pictured: IYK Airport Manager Scott Seymour — News Review file photo

Story First Published: 2021-01-22