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Sandpoint air service delayed for cash reasons

The Idaho Statesman
This week’s scheduled inauguration of round-trip air service between Boise and Sandpoint by Idaho-based McCall Aviation was delayed.

The launch of the four-day-a-week service has been pushed back to an undetermined date while local businessmen put the finishing touches on a $270,000 cash incentive required by the agreement between Bonner County and McCall Air.
When launched, the air service will include round-trip travel between Sandpoint and Seattle.

Local officials believe introduction of air service will help economic development by making Bonner County more attractive to businesses considering relocating to the area.

Rich Faletto, vice-chair of the Sandpoint Air Service Committee that has been working for three years to bring air travel to the community, said some $250,000 in pledges for discounted tickets on McCall Air have already been sold.

"But we have to have $270,000 in the bank 30 days before services begins," Faletto said. "We're confident that we can pick that up in the next week."

Faletto said the committee delayed asking purchasers to pay for their tickets until the Bonner County Attorney's Office had signed off on the agreement with the county.

That process took longer than expected, he said, so people only began paying for their tickets this week.

The pledges, which can be purchased through May 7, are for a special discounted fare of $97.50 for a one-way ticket between Boise and Sandpoint.

"After that, the price of the ticket is going up," Faletto said.

McCall Aviation president Dan Scott declined to say how much the price of a ticket will increase once service begins, but added that customers purchasing a book of 12 round-trip tickets prior to May 7 will receive an additional round-trip ticket.

Flights are scheduled to operate Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Tentatively, plans call for a nine-passenger Cessna Caravan to depart Boise at 7 a.m. for the two-hour flight to Sandpoint. It will depart for Seattle at 8:30 a.m. (Pacific time), arriving at 10 a.m. The plane will depart Seattle at 2 p.m., returning through Sandpoint and arriving in Boise at 7 p.m.

The Boise/Sandpoint/Seattle route is McCall Aviation's first entry into the scheduled commuter service market.

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