Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Air service is essential to attract businesses

More than a year ago, we uprooted our family and our life sciences instrumentation company, ORFLO Technologies, to the Wood River Valley from Seattle. We did so for the obvious reasons everyone understands when they visit Sun Valley—the natural beauty, the wonderful community, the trails, the mountain, the fishing, the restaurants, the culture—in short, the lifestyle. 

Leveraging current communication technologies, we can grow and build our company anywhere, as long as we have a few basic requirements. One non-negotiable requirement is a convenient airport with reliable, commercial service, including nonstop flights to major cities.

Many people here ask us how to attract other businesses like ours, a non-tourist-oriented company with global market share in a high-growth market sector, to the Wood River Valley. While the answer to that question is complex, we can tell you one simple fact: If this valley doesn’t increase its commercial air service or if it actually loses more commercial air seats, not only will you not attract other companies like ours, you could actually lose our company as well.

Businesses, not just tourists, depend on a high-functioning airport. Without direct air service to markets like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or Denver, this valley cannot hope to build and grow a thriving economy capable of supporting its citizens, local businesses, schools or resort—much less a non-tourist-oriented, product-manufacturing/sales/technology company like ours. We depend daily on the airport to facilitate domestic and international business meetings with vendors, strategic partners, consultants and out-of-state employees as well as shipping and receiving of raw materials and finished products. Frankly, the Hailey airport is already down to the bare minimum in terms of commercial flight availability. Any fewer options flight-wise and our company would find it very difficult to effectively do business here.

The only way to maintain and increase commercial air service to this valley is through minimum-revenue guarantees. Please educate yourselves on the data and what is at stake for this valley that you love. We wholeheartedly support a “yes” vote on the 1 percent LOT for air service.

Ted and Pia Ayliffe 

CEO & COO of ORFLO Technologies



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