The Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce has documented its support for the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport in a recent letter to a group examining intrastate flights in Idaho.

“Manufacturers such as Clearwater Paper, (Vista Outdoor), and other major employers, such as the Nez Perce Tribe, have employees who regularly travel to destinations across the country and the world to meet business needs,” according to the letter sent to the Idaho Legislature’s interim Intrastate Air Services Committee.

“A multitude of contractors and vendors come to the valley (to) support our businesses and these companies host customers, shareholders and other important guests throughout the year, who typically prefer to fly directly to Lewiston,” according to the letter signed by representatives of many of the area’s largest employers.

Leaders at more than 40 employers in the region signed the letter. Among them were: Scott Charney, Lewiston plant manager for the consumer products division at Clearwater Paper; Jeanette LaVance, program administrator at Vista Outdoor’s CCI/Speer; Kayeloni Scott, communications manager for the Nez Perce Tribe; Steve Aubuchon, manager of electric operations at Avista Utilities in Clarkston; Misty DeBarbrie, account executive at Regence BlueShield of Idaho; Cynthia Pemberton, president of Lewis-Clark State College; and Alan Nygaard, Lewiston’s city manager.

The city of Lewiston owns the airport with Nez Perce County.

The only direct flights currently serving Lewiston are on SkyWest heading to and from Salt Lake City. Until two years ago, the community also had direct service to Boise and Seattle on Alaska Airlines’ subsidiary Horizon Air.

The air services committee is trying to see if there are ways to reintroduce flights between Boise and Lewiston and on other routes such as Idaho Falls to Boise.

The letter, which was requested by Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, a co-chairman of the committee, comes at a critical time in the group’s work.

“If you’re looking at these types of issues in the (state) capitol, it’s important to have that support voiced,” he said. “That’s how it works (there).”

The panel is expected to have its last meeting at the end of this month where it will receive a report from the firm of Mead & Hunt that will outline potential options.

After the committee reviews the report, it will be handed off to the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Aeronautics, Johnson said.

“There’s no intention to have this committee go past January,” he said. “I am working on some legislative ideas.”

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.