New airport firetruck being tested, trend of higher boardings continues

November 15, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — Positive news continues to fly out of the Western Nebraska Regional Airport.

Airport Director Raul Aguallo and Assistant Airport Director Cheryl Clause had nothing but good news to report on Tuesday about the many positive things happening at the airport.

The new fire truck and equipment will cost about $900,000 with the airport responsible for 10 percent of the cost. The equipment includes self-contained breathing apparatus, bunker gear and loose tools for the truck. Some of the equipment has already arrived and put into use.

Aguallo was notified the truck is ready, it just needs to be tested. He expects to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, at the end of November to make the final inspection.

“It already has all the badging and logos on it,” he said. “It’s ready. They just need to test it.

Once the truck arrives, staff will receive seven days of training on the use of all the equipment.

“We will be able to drain the truck once of chemicals and reload (during training),” he said.

The truck is just one piece of positive news at the airport. Cheryl Clause, assistant airport director, said through Wednesday, Nov. 14, there have been 810 boardings at the airport and on schedule for more than 1,700 boardings this month.

“That will be the highest (number) since SkyWest took over,” she said. “With everything included other than medical flights, the total for the year will be 11,558.”

Final numbers for October are not yet in for medical flights, but stood at 853 through September. It is expected those flights will be over 1,000 boardings for the year. The medical count includes the passenger, the medical personnel taking care of the passenger and their family member.

Clause said if SkyWest had started flights in January, she is sure the yearly total would have been more than 15,000 boardings. She, Aguallo and the airport board praised the community for their swift return to flying and for their faith in airport staff to turn things around.

“We can’t say enough to the community for their support,” she said.

Airport boardmember Neal Smith said SkyWest had brilliant marketing to bring in customers, including himself, to the airport.

“I didn’t used to fly United,” he said. “Now I do and I’m sure most of the people getting on are in the same type of situation.”

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