Lummis Grills Dept of Transportation Nominees; Gets Them To Commit To Getting Cheyenne Airport Open

Sen. Lummis was successful in getting a commitment from the Dept of Transportation to releasing FAA funds and breaking through the bureaucracy to get the Cheyenne airport open.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

September 24, 20214 min read

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U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis convinced two U.S. Department of Transportation nominees to commit to relaunching air service in Cheyenne, where no commercial airport has been in service for more than a year.

During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this week, Lummis questioned Victoria Wassmer and Mohsin Syed about their willingness to help get the Cheyenne Regional Airport back in service if they were confirmed to the positions they’ve been nominated for in the department.

“The Cheyenne airport is facing serious challenges and they’re threatening the long-term viability of commercial air service right now,” Lummis said. “Cheyenne has absolutely no commercial air service. That’s been the case since last spring.”

The airport has been closed due to repairs that were originally scheduled to be completed this summer, in time for Cheyenne Frontier Days. However, the airport announced mid-summer it would not open for the 10-day rodeo.

The runway repair was slowed by nationwide shortage of a specific type of concrete that must be used according to Federal Aviation Administration rules. A lack of workers is also making the process take months longer to complete, Wyoming News Now reported.

Lummis pointed to FAA approval as one of the major factors slowing the repair project and said she was worried the capital city might not have air service for even longer than expected, possibly another year or two.

“Without FAA funds being expedited, the airport will not be able to offer commercial air service for the foreseeable future. Maybe a year or two years or more. That would make it the only state in the nation whose capital city has no commercial air service,” she said.

This week, Wyoming News Now reported that airport officials are eyeing a new opening date for later this year, hopefully in time for the holidays.

“It is not a long-term solution for the city of Cheyenne to be without air service,” Lummis said. “In addition to that, it’s a huge problem for Cheyenne’s economy, it will jeopardize our state’s efforts to combat wildfires and it jeopardizes procurement for F.E. Warren Air Force Base.”

Syed, who has been nominated to serve as the DOT’s assistant secretary for government affairs, confirmed to Lummis that he has spoken with her staff about the issue in Cheyenne, and affirmed he would commit to helping the senator with relaunching air service in the city. Wassmer also committed to working with Lummis if she won confirmation.

“We’ll work closely to identify other opportunities associated with the funding for the runway improvements that are happening there at Cheyenne,” Wassmer said.

Lummis is not the only person frustrated with the lack of commercial air options in Cheyenne, with many people visiting the Cheyenne Regional Airport’s Facebook page questioning when flights might again be offered, as some do not want to drive to Denver to catch a plane.

“Wow Cheyenne! One epic fail after another. Maybe try a change in your good ole boy thinking for christs and your pro trumpian and anti vax attitude are the laughing stock of the world.. but every circus needs a clown!” user Kyle C. Baber said.

“I travel frequently for business & leisure. Its very frustrating to go to Denver for flights. So to get the great rates and flights out of Cheyenne Wy is huge for myself, business partners & family” user Tara LH said.

“Put real airlines to fly in and out of the airport!!!! Such an inconvenience to have to go to denver to fly!!!” user Latini Jmarie said.

“We had tickets to fly in for Frontier Days in 2020. American gave us a credit, so we couldn’t fly into Cheyenne in 2021, did the Denver ratrace. Never again,” user Janet Gabbert said.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter