Airport board to recommend Denver Air Connection to McCook City Council

Thursday, January 13, 2022

McCOOK, Neb. — After joining the City Council to hear Zoom presentations from five suitors, the McCook Airport Advisory Commission voted to recommend Denver Air Connection to the council.

If the council agrees at its Monday meeting, the airline’s application to provide Essential Air Service to McCook will be passed to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A subsidiary of Key Lime Air Corp., Denver Air Connection won points for the system supplying pilots from its cargo division, its interline agreement with United Airlines, and the roomy, pressurized Fairchild Metro 23 that will be used for the route, allowing up to 150 pounds of baggage per passenger.

Also high in the running were Southern Airways, ranked No. 2, and the current provider, Boutique Air, No. 3.

Denver Air Connection is the only scheduled jet service into Telluride, Colo., with service to Phoenix Sky Harbor, and also serves Alliance, Neb., Clovis New Mexico, Thief River Falls, Minn., Pierre, S.D., Watertown, S.D., and Ironwood, Mich.

All five airlines made Zoom presentations to the council and all but one member of the airport board Tuesday in the upstairs training room at the McCook Municipal Center.

A theme of each of the half-hour presentations was the pandemic, resulting pilot shortage and how each company has been able to deal with it.

Each airline submitted bids including first- through fourth-year subsidy requests, increasing each year.

Highlights of the proposals, listed first-year subsidy, number of scheduled flights and aircraft, included:

-- Air Charter Express 1,248 scheduled flights, $1,487,616, 7-passenger Piper Navajo Chieftains

-- Air Choice One 1,223 scheduled flights, $2,637,876, 8-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan

-- Denver Air Connection 1,248 scheduled flights, $2,910,856, 9-passenger Fairchild Metro 23

-- Boutique Air 1,248 scheduled flights, $3,289,172, 8-passenger Pilatus PC-12

-- Southern Airways, 1,248 scheduled flights, $2,891,301, 9-passenger King Air

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