BULLHEAD CITY — The Bullhead City Council will provide a significant portion of a guarantee fund to bring back scheduled passenger air service to Laughlin/Bullhead City International Airport.
Council members unanimously approved allocation of $65,000 into a $150,000 guarantee fund to ensure the carrier is protected from loss if a proposed route between LBIA and Los Angeles International Airport isn’t profitable. Other contributors to the fund are the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and Laughlin resorts, for a total of $75,000, and Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, for $10,000.
That money excludes in-kind support by the communities and LBIA to promote the route and encourage potential flyers to use it.
Bullhead City officials asked that any remaining money be returned to the funders in two years.
Jeremy Keating, director of the LBIA, will be in charge of handling the fund.
City Manager Toby Cotter said the previous arrangement for scheduled air service between LBIA and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport used too large an aircraft. The consistent number of empty seats resulted in American Airlines stopping that service after a year.
Council member Mark Clark, also vice president of the Mohave County Airport Authority Board of Directors, suggested the fund should be available to the carrier for two years — significantly longer than the six months initially suggested but a time span he considered more appropriate.
“Most people aren’t familiar with the airport,” Clark said. “It’s the third busiest airport in the state.”
Potential details provided about the arrangement include 15 round trips a week timed to connect with American network flights at LAX. The service would use a Cessna C208 Grand Caravan, which seats nine people. Ticket booking for these flights would be done through American. The service is billed as a partnership between LBIA and American.
These and other details need to be worked out between the Mohave County Airport Authority and American Airlines — including ticket costs and the specific flight schedule.
There might be another carrier interested in serving LBIA and another large airport, such as Salt Lake City or Denver. Any leftover money in this guarantee fund could be used to help secure that potential service, said Mayor Tom Brady.
Council member Steve D’Amico said he would support the air service arrangement. However, if the endeavor were to fail, D’Amico said he likely wouldn’t support another one using city money.
Keating said the airport likely wouldn’t profit from the air service agreement but that the community it serves would. People would visit Laughlin, Bullhead City and other nearby areas and patronize businesses.
The airline “came to us,” Keating said. “We don’t have the opportunity to pick where they go.”
Demand for travel to and from LAX exists, he and Cotter each noted.
In other business, the council:
- Approved a $422,020 bid for construction and installation of underground fuel storage tank with two compartments at city’s fuel facility. The gasoline tank was beginning to leak within its container and is no longer in use. Work will begin when the rest of the diesel is used up from the other tank. Each tank holds 12,000 gallons. Cost could be mitigated if the city is able to obtain grants of up to $300,000 for the replacement project.
- Adopted a resolution for creation of a cost recovery agreement with the federal government for lands exchange work worth up to $274,792. Once the work by federal officials is complete, the city would obtain control of city park lands known as Section 12 for 80 acres of Black Mountain land based on federal legislation authorizing the land swap already signed by President Donald Trump.
- Approved final plat for Laredo Canyon Trails at Fox Creek. This includes improvement plans, financial assistance and allocation of Colorado River water to the single-family residential and some commercial development at major intersections with Bullhead Parkway.
- Approved zoning map change on a 0.12-acre parcel at 406 Whitewater Drive. Its classification would change from residential multiple-family district to residential single-family limited district.
- Approved pursuit of a decommissioned military item for display in Veterans Memorial Park. It would sit in the park south of the eternal flame. The type of item would depend on what a staff member in U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s office can find for the city. The item would have to be approved by the council.
- Endorsed a request for an interim permit and Series 10 liquor license for Jose Alvarado Maldonado, Best Buy Market Carnicerias, 970 Hancock Road.
- Named council member Kathy Bruck to the city’s Real Estate Owned Committee, which sells off property.
- Appointed Craig Cox to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
- Will meet next on Monday, Aug. 19, 9 a.m., instead of its normal Tuesday meeting time.
- Offered a reminder: Today at 5 p.m., the call closes to submit arguments for and against Proposition 415 for the referendum’s publicity pamphlet. See bullheadcity.com for submission details.