Chadron and Alliance have once again picked different airlines for their Essential Air Service subsidy contracts to Denver.
The Chadron city council wants newcomer Southern Airways as its carrier while the Alliance council wants to keep Key Lime Air, which as Denver Air Connection has been flying the Alliance-Denver route the past 2 years
A city’s preference doesn’t guarantee the federal Dept of Transportation will approve it, but that’s generally the case even if the airline doesn’t have the lowest bid. The DOT will award the new contracts later this year, likely in the spring
Mayor Mike Dafney told KNEB News that Alliance has been thrilled with the airline, which had only 4 weather-related cancellations and 32 late departures in the roughly 18 months before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Before the current contract, Boutique Airlines served both Chadron and Alliance but triggered complaints from Alliance travelers over reliability and the limited number of seats available.
Mayor Dafney said Denver Air Connection addressed both problems in part by having a plane overnight in Alliance, an arrangement that also boosts the local economy through the sale of aviation gas to the airline as well as food and lodging for the pilots.