SkyWest is restoring its third daily round-trip Lewiston-Salt Lake City flight in late November after cutting the flight from its itinerary in September.
That expansion of service is an indication that air travel is starting to rebound after dramatically plummeting in April because of COVID-19, said Lewiston Airport Director Michael Isaacs at a Tuesday meeting of the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport authority board.
Typically 55 passengers a day have been boarding flights in Lewiston, he said.
At the same time, passengers throughout the nation seem to be warming to flying again, Isaacs said.
The Transportation Security Administration completed one million passenger screenings Sunday, a number higher than any daily total since mid-March, he said.
“It’s a good sign,” Isaacs said.
And a Defense Department study recently found that there is almost no chance of airplane passengers who are wearing face masks catching the coronavirus even if they are on a full flight, Isaacs said.
Isaacs and the board are continuing to work on adding new destinations from Lewiston, which lost service to Boise and Seattle with the departure of Alaska Airlines’ Horizon Air two years ago, Board Chairman Gary Peters said.
“We’re going to deliver on it,” he said. “...We are working on it hard.”
Those updates came at a meeting where the board also renewed a hangar sublease for Peters and declined to provide an update about the status of a lease for Stout Flying Service.
The hangar is leased by the landlord, Young Ideas of Post Falls, and then subleased to Peters for $2,500 per month, according to documents obtained by the Tribune through a public records request.
Peters recused himself from the discussion and vote on the sublease. After the meeting, he said the agreement passed by the board was an extension of one that has been in place since 2016.
In another matter, the board referred a question about the status of Stout Flying Service to its attorney, Thad O’Sullivan, who declined to comment.
The question was raised by Charlie Pottenger, a retired Potlatch Corp. executive who attended the meeting.
The board ended the lease of Stout Flying Service effective Nov. 3 over a dispute about insurance.
The two sides were scheduled to be in mediation earlier this month, but board member Mandy Miles previously said that was to negotiate an exit strategy, not allow the business to continue as a tenant.
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