News

City of Kearney Receives Air Service Proposals

The City of Kearney has received notice from the Department of Transportation detailing the receipt of essential air service proposals for passenger air service at the Kearney Regional Airport. The City received seventeen proposals from seven air service carriers. The proposals offer aircraft ranging from nine seat prop aircraft to fifty passenger regional jets. The proposals offer daily flights either to Denver or Omaha. The air carriers include United Express, Great Lakes Airlines, Key Lime Air, Boutique Air, Silver Air, ADI and Air Choice One.

The City will evaluate the proposals in the coming days and the City Council will meet early next week to provide community comments to the DOT. It is expected that the DOT will award the essential air service contract in late September or early October.

Numbers up with PenAir flights tops city government news

Barely one month after its takeover of commuter flights from Kearney to Denver, PenAir’s boardings in Kearney were outstripping those of Great Lakes Aviation, the airline that PenAir replaced.

After taking over the Kearney-to-Denver flights on Nov. 1, PenAir reported 540 enplanements for November, the most boardings by paying passengers at Kearney Regional Airport in 27 months.

Switching airlines was voted the top city government story of 2017 by the Kearney Hub’s newsroom staff.

The change to PenAir was necessary, city officials and business leaders said, because inconsistent service by Great Lakes had eroded confidence in Kearney air service.

After city officials conducted an extensive search to replace Great Lakes, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded PenAir of Anchorage, Alaska, the two-year Essential Air Service contract to provide two flights per day of federally subsidized air service from Kearney to Denver International Airport.

PenAir was one of seven airlines that bid to provide air service to Kearney, Scottsbluff and North Platte.

Ball field complex

This spring, the city will open a $7.5 million baseball and softball complex. Patriot Park, as the facility will be called, sits just south of the new $121 million Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home that’s scheduled to open in 2018 near Kearney Regional Airport.

Kearney voters approved a special 1 percent restaurant tax to pay for the Patriot Park complex, which is designed to relieve the stress for practice and game time on the current athletic fields in the city.

Legislative campaign

Kearney businessman John Lowe was elected to replace term-limited state Sen. Galen Hadley and represent Kearney in the Nebraska Legislature after a campaign that saw lots of money and outside influence brought to bear. Lowe was among a handful of candidates for the Legislature who gained the endorsement and financial backing of Gov. Pete Rickets. In addition, Americans for Prosperity and Trees of Liberty provided several mailings in support of Lowe that attacked his opponent, Kearney City Council member Bob Lammers, as a tax-and-spend politician.

After losing the race, Lammers said he was so disappointed in the tone of the campaign that he would leave politics when his council term expires in two years.

Streets, bridges

After years of lobbying, design and construction, the Kearney East Expressway finally opened in November and provided Interstate 80 travelers easy access to The Archway and a bypass around Kearney to the junction of Highways 10 and 40 at Glenwood Corner north of the city.

Planners first envisioned the expressway in 1985, and The Archway opened in 2000 with the hope that an exit on I-80 would soon be built, but it required years of lobbying before money became available to build the first phases of the $60 million expressway, including the exit, an overpass above the Union Pacific mainline and U.S. Highway 30, and a pair of roundabouts.

The year also saw the com- pletion of resurfacing on the Highway 44 bridge over the Platte River south of Kearney and completion of paving on Central Avenue in the Buffalo County Courthouse neighborhood.

Archway

The Archway lost the support of the Buffalo County Board of Commissioners in 2016, but continues to operate with subsidies from the Kearney Area Visitors Bureau and the city. The county board voted 4-3 on March 22 to discontinue its $75,000 per year assistance to the attraction. With $75,000 and $150,000 annually from the city and Visitors Bureau, The Archway now is breaking even, but relies on contributions from local donors for deferred maintenance and improvements.

Barely three years ago, a group of community supporters negotiated the purchase of The Archway from its shareholders for $150,000.

First Flight Is Up, Up and Underway

KEARNEY — Flights with PenAir are up, up and underway at Kearney Regional Airport.

The Alaskan airline’s first flight from Kearney to Denver took off Tuesday morning a little after 8 a.m. and touched back down around 4 p.m. Passengers on the return flight were greeted by a cheering crowd in the terminal, and city and airline officials gathered to perform a quick ribbon cutting before the second flight of the day took off.

“The flights were outstanding. We got a few bugs to work out, but that’s to be expected,” Kearney Mayor Stan Clouse said. “We’re just excited to have PenAir as our carrier in Kearney.”

PenAir’s two-year Essential Air Service contract with Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff began Tuesday. PenAir Chief Operating Officer Dave Hall thanked the crowd for an “unbelievable welcome.”

“This is just amazing. You don’t see this every day in this business, so this is really phenomenal,” Hall said.

Hall and Clouse said many hours were put into making the transition from Great Lakes Aviation to PenAir.

“We’ve built up to this in the last several months,” Hall said. “If we’re doing something right, let us know. If something needs to be addressed, let us know that, too. That’s important to us.”

The first flight was packed with Kearney officials, including Clouse, City Manager Mike Morgan, council member Bob Lammers, Kearney Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Roger Jasnoch and Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce President Max Kathol, prompting the mayor to joke that, “We actually had some real paying customers today.”

RosaLee Bishop of Grand Island flew from Kearney Tuesday to meet and spend the week with her sister in Utah. Bishop was unaware she’d booked a ticket on PenAir’s first flight out of Kearney until the night before when she saw news about it. Bishop said she was excited about the inaugural flight and took pictures of the flight crew, media and other passengers for her scrapbook.

“I’m looking forward to being on the first flight with a new airline,” she said. “I’ve heard positive things about (PenAir) from people who have flown with them before.”

Bishop said she’s had good experiences flying from Kearney, and prefers the convenience of the direct flight to the Denver.

The flight was slightly delayed because of pilot rest rules, and the return flight was delayed because of a minor mechanical issue. Once the plane was in the air, service went smoothly and comfortably. PenAir operates a 30-seat Saab 340 aircraft, which is a prop plane. Ear plugs were given passengers on the first flight.

Complimentary beverages and snacks were served before the plane landed in Denver International Airport and taxied to the far end of Concourse A. Staff at PenAir’s DIA check-in desk were still learning the ropes, but helpful and courteous.

Clouse said he encountered city officials from North Platte in Denver after their own first flight arrived and said he believes they’re just as excited as Kearney to have a new carrier.

“I know it’s going to be a long and lasting relationship for air service out of Kearney,” he said.

Flights from Denver to Kearney run twice daily. For more information, visit www.flykearney.com.

By JESSICA KOKESH
Hub Staff Writer

Alaskan, Delta, United, American Airlines! Oh My!

ANCHORAGE – PenAir has signed an interline ticketing agreement with American Airlines. Effective October 26, 2016, PenAir and American Airlines will have the ability to ticket on each other as well as provide boarding passes and the transferring of bags downline to passengers’ destinations. Prior to this neither airline could print boarding passes for connecting flights between the two airlines. They were also not able to transfer bags to one another, causing the customer to have to pick up their own bags at their connecting hub and recheck it with the connecting carrier.
“Having this interline agreement with American is important for our customers,” says VP of Marketing and Sales, Melissa Roberts. “It will allow our customers to check their baggage through to their final destination when connecting with American flights out of any of our hubs. In the past we have had to instruct our customers to pick up their bags at their connecting hub and recheck them in. This will certainly improve our customer experience, providing less stress and more convenience.”
PenAir provides daily scheduled service out of their hubs in Anchorage, AK, Portland, OR, Denver, CO & Boston, ME . “We are committed to the communities we serve, and will do everything we can to provide the consumer with multiple choices when making their travel plans”, says Roberts. “We know ultimately how important the customer experience is and we strive to give the best service possible”
About PenAir
Celebrating 60 plus years of service, PenAir began in 1955 in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Today, PenAir is one of the largest operators of Saab 340 turboprop aircraft in the country. PenAir currently serves 10 communities in southwest Alaska. In 2012 they initiated scheduled flights between Boston and Presque Isle, ME, Plattsburgh, NY and Bar Harbor, ME. The Company also operates service out of Portland, OR to North Bend, OR, Crescent City, CA, Arcata/Eureka, CA, Redding CA, & Klamath Falls, OR. PenAir recently started a hub in Denver, CO where they are currently operating to Liberal & Dodge City, KS and soon (November 1) to Kearney, NE, North Platte, NE & Scottsbluff, NE. For flight details and promotions more can be found at penair.com.

Kearney Welcomes PenAir with New Change Attitude

 

Just who the heck is this PenAir and what brings them to our community?

November 1st will mark another milestone in the 60 plus years of service for a “little-big” airline from Anchorage, Alaska called PenAir!

It was 1955, the year Orin Seybert, then just 18, flew his one-seater Taylorcraft aircraft from Seattle, Washington to Pilot Point, Alaska.  The young Seybert’s parents were school teachers in this small village located in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska.  Just by circumstance he started flying people from his new home to Dillingham, Alaska, the closest community offering health care.  It was on one of his trips that a medical doctor greeted him and offered to assist him with “at least fuel for his aircraft” if he was going to continue to bring the sick to town.  It was that conversation that started and formed this “little-big” airline.

In those sixty plus years the company has continued to grow into a multi-million dollar operation.  With over 600 employees, PenAir offers scheduled air transportation service throughout Southwest Alaska as well as the Aleutian chain.  In 2012 it opened a hub in Boston, Massachusetts operating throughout Northern Maine & New York.  Portland, Oregon was next on the Company’s list, offering service between the Rose City and Southern Oregon and Northern California.  And, on September 15, 2016 it opened a hub in Denver, Colorado, beginning its Midwest service to Liberal & Dodge City, Kansas.  In November they will expand their service out of Denver to three points in Nebraska.  The company also operates a freight service operation in Alaska as well as a turn service for major carriers on the East CoastThe Company’s roots were based on compassion and caring and that still carries on today.  They are committed to the communities they serve and you will find them involved in many programs through the communities they live and work in.

The Company’s expansion and growth, for the most part, is greatly due to the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service (EAS) subsidy program.  The EAS program was enacted and put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certified air carriers before airline deregulation maintain a minimal level of schedule air service.  Most of these communities are of perfect size for the number of seats needed for air transportation service.

PenAir operates Saab 340 turbo prop aircraft in their “lower 48” markets while servicing some of their routes in Alaska utilizing the Saab 2000.  Both aircraft operate with three crew members (two flight crew members and one flight attendant).   Although the stage length for most routes throughout the continental U.S. are less than two hours, the airline also offers a snack service, complete with a variety of juices, coffee and water.

To sign up for PenAir’s e-news or to explore routes, fares, schedules and deals, visit www.penair.com.

 

Meet and Greet PenAir! October 12th 4-6 p.m.

With only 1 month until PenAir hits the runway, they want to make a trip back to Kearney to get to know the community better. On October 12th from 4-6 p.m. PenAir is going to be at the Corporate Hangar in Kearney to host a Meet and Greet event with the City of Kearney. A unique part of PenAir’s business strategy is getting involved in the communities they serve. From being part of the Chamber, to hosting special events that come to town, PenAir wants to have a presence in Kearney and offer them quality air service while they are at it! We hope you can attend the Meet and Greet and experience the PenAir way! Change is in the air!

-Kearney Regional Airport

PenAir Publishes Schedules and Fares for Nebraska Flights

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – PenAir, one of Alaska’s largest regional airlines, will initiate twice-daily service out of Denver, to three new destinations throughout Nebraska, Scottsblulff, NE; North Platte, NE & Kearney, NE, effective November 1 & 2, 2016. The addition of these destinations expands PenAir’s network throughout the “lower 48” with existing service out of their hubs of Anchorage, AK; Portland, OR; & Boston, MA.
Effective, June 17, 2016, schedules and fares will be available at PenAir.com and on some online travel agency sites, and by calling PenAir’s Central Reservations. Within the next month these fares and schedules will also be on PenAir’s codeshare partner’s website at Alaskaair.com.
According to Danny Seybert, PenAir’s CEO, “PenAir is thrilled to be expanding our service out of Denver, CO.
We have been operating for 60 years throughout Alaska, for the last several years in the Northeast U.S., and most recently the Pacific Northwest. The initiation of service in Denver will provide customers with our Alaskan brand of reliable customer service and the benefit of our connectivity to flights with our codeshare partner Alaska Airlines.”
“We have begun meeting with community leaders from each of these three new communities and we’re working on a strong advertising campaign and becoming involved in these local communities”, said Dave Hall, PenAir’s Chief Operating Officer. “All the communities have been especially supportive of PenAir and our plan to operate in their markets which are similar in size to those we serve in Alaska and in the Northeast U. S.”
PenAir will enter each market with an introductory fare which can be found on the company’s website at penair.com.

penair flight schedule

Welcome to Our New Web Page

The City of Kearney today unveiled the new official website FlyKearney.com. The new website is a marketing website for the air traveler flying in and out of Kearney.

Some of the amenities of Kearney Regional Airport are the easy access, free parking, no baggage lines, short security lines, and being close to home. The website contains information pertaining to baggage, rental cars, many links to community attractions and businesses, and links to Great Lakes Airlines and the Denver International Airport.

We hope this attractive website will be of service to the air traveler and encourage the traveler to FlyKearney.

FAA Airport Certification Medal of Excellence

The Kearney Regional Airport annual airport certification inspection was conducted on October 13 and 14, 2015 by the Federal Aviation Administration. The inspection revealed that the Airport is being operated in compliance as per FAA guidelines of Title 13 CFR Part 139. The discrepancy-free inspection resulted in the Kearney Regional Airport receiving the FAA Airport Certification Program Medal of Excellence. This is the sixth consecutive year the Kearney Regional Airport has received the award.