Laramie Regional Airport

Laramie Regional Airport requested $150,000 each from the city of Laramie and Albany County to continue its partnership with the municipalities. The airport has worked to correct issues with audits and Federal Aviation Administration compliance, Airport Director Amy Terrell said.

Staff and board members of the Laramie Regional Airport have been working to correct an array of issues left behind by previous leadership and report significant progress, Amy Terrell, the airport’s director, shared with Laramie City Council meeting last week.

“We spend a lot of time and focus on economic development,” said Mayor Paul Weaver. “I’m not sure if it’s always as well understood how critical having a competitive airport and one that’s in full compliance is for that effort, and for the operation of the state’s only university.”

The city of Laramie has contributed $100,000 to the airport last year. More than $7 million from the city- and county-approved 6th penny tax went toward completing a new terminal at the airport.

This year, the airport is requesting $150,000 each from the city and the county to stay afloat after spending more than $600,000 on accounting and audit services and absorbing additional costs for buying necessary equipment.

After a new airport board of directors took control of the facility in June 2021, they discovered that accounting and audits hadn’t been completed for years. On top of that, the airport was out of compliance with more than a dozen Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

“I think what we inherited was an airport that needed financial infusions,” Terrell said. “We had a team that worked tirelessly getting it up and running.”

Over the past year, the airport worked with financial consultants to complete audits for 2019-2021, created a training program and made changes to meet FAA regulations, Terrell said.

The FAA regulations range from updating safety features of the fuel farm to making sure the grass is cut to the correct length to allow ground cover for squirrels, Terrell said.

She said she expects that while there may be small changes to make, the airport will be largely in compliance with FAA regulations after completing a safety training exercise Aug. 30.

Financing flight

Over the past year, the airport received grants over more than $1 million each from the CARES Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Some of the airport’s funding is contingent on a provision that at least 10,000 people board aircraft each year. To continue bringing people to the airport, the team hopes to host community events and explore business plans that will bring in more customers.

“The team is definitely looking for community involvement and to bring more folks to the airport,” Terrell said.

There is land near the airport that could be developed into a business park, potentially with a hotel and restaurant, Terrell said. AirLoom energy, a wind power company, already bought a lease in the area.

The airport also updated its fees and hangar leases to bring in more revenue. Aviators can either pay a $100 landing fee or buy 75 gallons of gas for landing at the airport, Terrell said, adding that this is standard for the industry.

The introduction of various fees was a point of contention for some local pilots and aviators, who have claimed airport management was treating some airport users unfairly.

The airport has since brought in mediators to work through some of those disagreements, Terrell said.

“We have an amazing staff out here … and we have a very good board,” Terrell said of the situation. “I think it can only get better.”

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