The trip between Sandpoint and Boise is about to get a lot
Air service between the two communities, with connections
to Seattle, is schedule to being in early May. Organizers
from the Sandpoint Air Service Committee (SASC) were in Boise
Wednesday (March 3) introducing the new service to state agencies
and Treasure Valley-area businesses.
Provided by McCall Aviation, the new service targets business
travelers making day trips between Boise and Sandpoint as
well as weekend recreational tourists. Organizers say the
biggest reason for bringing the service to Sandpoint is economics.
The service offers a time and cost savings over flying
into Spokane and driving to Sandpoint, said Rich Faletto,
a SASC member. You no longer have to drive the 80 miles,
which saves about one and a half hours each way, plus the
cost of gas and parking.
Along with the potential cost savings to the traveler, there
is an expectation that the air service will bolster the local
economy, helping businesses provide access to important customers
and provide a boon for local tourist attractions.
Efforts to get air connections into and out of Sandpoint
has been in the works for about three years, Faletto said.
In no small part, its because of the help of
people in state government and people in Sandpoint.
Sandpoint-area business leaders, residents and stakeholders
have pledged more than $250,000 toward guaranteed, pre-purchased
ticket vouchers to show their commitment. Committee members
also asked state agencies to forecast the number of flight
vouchers they would need in the coming year. The cost of a
one-way voucher is $97.50. Once service is initiated, round-trip
tickets could cost as much as $350.
Initially, the Boise-Sandpoint route will be scheduled on
four weekdays: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with
one round trip offered each day. McCall Aviation executives
expect that business levels will increase and flights will
be added as consumers become more aware of the service.
our hope is that demand is much
greater than one flight per day, or for a larger aircraft,
said Daniel Scott, McCall Aviation president.
This is the first foray into scheduled service for McCall
Aviation, which offers charters to the Idaho and Montana backcountry.
The company also holds government contracts with public agencies,
such as the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Fish & Game
for fire suppression, wildlife monitoring and other activities.
McCall Aviations venture will provide an important
link between north and southwest Idaho, said Robert
Martin of ITDs Division of Aeronautics. This air
service will help fuel the states economic engine and
provides another tool for businesses, small and large, to
maintain their standing in the marketplace. For many companies
and communities, aviation is the key that unlocks the door
to success and growth.
The Division of Aeronautics mission includes the encouragement
and fostering of an aviation system that meets the current
and future requirements of Idahos growing and diverse
aviation public, Martin said.