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JoAnn Wolters brought the Salmon City Council up to date on the possibility that regularly scheduled air commuter service to Boise can be reestablished through a Small Community Air Development Program grant. The application due date is July 26.

Wolters said that if there are no ‘fatal flaw’ glitches in the application this area should stand a good chance of being one of the 40 grants awarded nationwide.

The grant is for up to $750,000 over a three year period. She said when she and her husband Dan Schroeder owned Salmon Air, which provided eight scheduled round trips to Boise per week, it took three years to make the commuter service self-sustainable. With the financial help behind this new effort to restore commuter air service she and Schroeder think it will take less time to reach sustainability.

Wolters said the County Commissioners have pledged $30,000 over a three year period and the Idaho Department of Commerce is on board promising some financial contributions for the first year. She said state employees are especially supportive since they were among the frequent flyers using the commuter air service and have not only missed having that transportation but have missed many meetings in Salmon due to poor driving conditions or tight time schedules.

National notice will be an added plus to reestablishment of commuter air service since the service will be advertised in national publications.

The previous Salmon Air commuter service employed 38 local people and records show approximately 2200 customers a year used the commuter service which was only one of several air services offered.

As to whether or not Wolters/Schroeder’s present company Gem Air will be selected to provide the commuter service Wolters said that is not as important as making sure the community has a chance to have an air transportation option. She said Gem Air does have a Turboprop Kodaik nine passenger airplane as well as the two twin engine Piper Chieftains. She said the fact the Kodaik is manufactured in Sandpoint, Idaho pleases the Department of Commerce.

In answer to a council question she said McCall Air does not want to go into a year around scheduled service. Wolters said it does cost money to provide that kind of service and McCall, with whom they have a good relationship, did not feel it a worthwhile venture.

As to what the city can do Wolters said letters of support, and money. She said the same amount as the county has pledged would be great however any amount would be appreciated and could be spread over a few years. She said it is important to show that both the county and the city are supportive of the commuter air service plan and Mayor Leo Marshall affirmed that a letter will be written in time to include in the application.

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