Yellowstone Regional Airport director attempting to get Delta service back
CODY (WNE) — Yellowstone Regional Airport Director Aaron Buck is actively pursuing the return of Delta Airlines and will be meeting with representatives of SkyWest Airlines about the issue next month.
Buck told members of the Park County Travel Council on Dec. 15 that reaching an agreement with Delta was “critical” for the operations of the airport and for Park County residents.
Delta announced it would not be returning to YRA in late 2021. At that time, the airline informed Buck that not enough business clientele traveled to YRA, and business clientele provided Delta a better margin of profit returns than the leisure travel base of customers coming to Cody.
In addition, Delta, like many airlines, continues to face pilot shortages, and has had to make difficult decisions about what flights to prioritize, Buck told the travel council.
Buck is currently scheduled to meet with representatives of Skywest Airlines — a regional airline that partners with Delta to provide flights to YRA and other similarly sized airports — on Jan. 23.
Delta’s decision about returning to Cody will likely be contingent on a discussion happening currently in the U.S. Congress, he said.
“They’ve applied to fly planes with 30 seats or below of passengers,” Buck said. “What that does is it allows them to hire a pilot who only has 700 hours (of experience) and put them next to someone who might have 30,000 hours, rather than having to hire two guys with over 10,000 hours of experience.”
Being able to hire less-experienced pilots would help address the ongoing pilot shortage and allow Delta to expand its service back into smaller communities like Cody, he said.