TWIN FALLS, Idaho — It has been two months since the Denver flight out of Magic Valley Regional Airport was canceled and three months since the Salt Lake City service was reduced to just once a day. Over these past few months, the airport has seen quite an impact on its day-to-day operations.
“When you go from two destinations, Denver and Salt Lake, and four flights down to one, there is a lot of drop in their percentage-wise,” said Bill Carberry, manager of the Magic Valley Regional Airport.
The main effect of the flight cancellations has been significant reductions in people visiting the area, whether for business or travel, as only one flight is available. Despite the limited traffic, the airport has not taken drastic measures, like letting employees go.
“Air service is really the backbone of economic activity and provides opportunity for folks to visit us and for us to go places," said Carberry. "It supports our businesses and our residences. So, really it’s something that is felt throughout our area.”
Local businesses are not only feeling the brunt of limited travelers visiting the area, but as some ease their own travel restrictions to conduct business it has been more difficult to book flights.
“The midday flight is not very conducive to connecting to the East Coast for example or even the Midwest," said Shawn Barigar, the president of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce. "We’ve heard from our business community that many of them are now having to drive to Boise or Salt Lake.”
Although these flight cancellations are posing numerous challenges, the Chamber of Commerce and the Magic Valley Regional Airport are working to resolve this issue for the near future.
“We’ve had some conversations with Delta and Atlanta about some scheduling and things like that with Delta," said Carberry. "So we’ll be talking with them again later in the spring.”
Since Winter is typically not a popular travel time for Twin Falls, the Chamber has also been working with Southern Idaho Tourism to prepare for once the weather warms up.
“As we take inquiries from folks who call looking to travel in the Spring and Summer months, we’re sending them our community magazine and information on the area," said Barigar. "We’re continuing to do those things we’ve always done.”