Natrona County OKs Another $600,000 To Guarantee Salt Lake Flight

Having already balked at paying the full $1.3 million tab for a year of guaranteeing a Casper-Salt Lake City flight with SkyWest, the Natrona County Commissioners OK’d another $600,000 on Tuesday.

Dale Killingbeck

May 08, 20244 min read

The Natrona County commission Tuesday agreed to pay for continued SkyWest Delta Connection service from Casper to Salt Lake City.
The Natrona County commission Tuesday agreed to pay for continued SkyWest Delta Connection service from Casper to Salt Lake City. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — After reluctantly agreeing to pony up $650,000 to guarantee six months of daily air service from SkyWest Delta between Casper and Salt Lake City, Natrona County commissioners have OK’d another nearly $600,000 payment.

Natrona County Board of Commissioners faced another request Tuesday to send another big check to keep the connection between the Oil City and Salt Lake for another year.

Representatives from Casper/Natrona County International Airport and Fly Casper Alliance told the commissioners the request Tuesday was to cover the costs for next fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, 2025.

The county’s contribution is $595,420, which is half of what it had been paying after giving the city of Casper an ultimatum to help with the air guarantee costs or the county would stop paying for it.

“We just recently approved the MRG (minimum revenue guarantee) for the six-month period basically Jan. 1 to June 30,” Commission Chairman Peter Nicolaysen said. “This has come before us a lot sooner than what we were planning. I’m hoping you could give us a brief explanation of why we are dealing with this now.”

Airport Director Glenn Januska told the commission that Wyoming’s Aeronautics Commission wanted the county’s minimum revenue guarantee payment to fit into its schedule of payments that coincided with MRG payments for other communities around the state. The state pays 40 percent of the figure.

“They wanted to have this in place before the beginning of the fiscal year,” he said. “They wanted any applications for funding in place for their May meeting. We had to submit that application to them by May 6 so they could take this up.”

Januska said he and Kaycee Wiita of Fly Casper Alliance understood the county wants other communities that benefit from the airline to have “skin in the game.”

Year Total: $1.98 Million

The total cost for the SkyWest early morning departure from Casper and late-night return would be $1.98 million.

He said the city of Casper has committed to $400,000 in its next fiscal year budget and the Advance Casper Board approved $100,000 for the next payment. The Fly Casper Alliance is working on raising another $100,000, which would leave the county’s bill at $595,420. The state would pay 40% of the cost, or $793,893.

“Instead of the 60% requirement that we brought before the county in the past, we are looking at 30% of the costs,” Januska said. “The good news is that you will not have to hear from us for another year time period, and hopefully not after that.”

Nicolaysen said he understood the Aeronautics Commission set the timing of the payment. He said he appreciated that the Fly Casper Alliance was successful in getting others to have “skin in the game.”

“This continues to be in the aggregate and in consideration of all the circumstances a good thing for our community and a pay-it-forward thing,” he said. “As much as it is difficult, because of lot of our constituents don’t fly Delta Airlines and may never fly Delta Airlines, maybe their doctors do.”

Another Airline?

Commissioner Dave North asked Januska if he was actively trying to get another airline to fly into the airport. Januska affirmed he is.

North also wanted to know how much money SkyWest had taken from the MRG payment that takes it through the end of June. Januska said it was $612,182 for the first three months of the year.

Commissioner Jim Milne thanked Januska and Wiita for their work to recruit other entities to pitch in. He said the payment was still a hard sell.

“This is a full year, not six months, so it is a little more palatable, but not much,” he said.

North, who has voted against the payments in the past, said he still believes the payment is a “losing battle.”

“There’s a lot of money out there that is being called for,” he said. “I think we have other things we could use it better on.”

North voted against the payment.

Commissioners Steven Freel and Milne voted in favor. Nicolaysen did not vote. Commissioner Dallas Laird was absent.

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at

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Dale Killingbeck