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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 24 - 30, 2003


Sun Valley secures Bay Area airline service

Los Angeles flight contract also extended

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co. officials confirmed this week that they have secured direct airline service this winter between Hailey and the San Francisco Bay Area.

In addition, the company announced it has signed a contract to extend through the winter season direct, daily flight service between Hailey and Los Angeles.

Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley director of marketing and public relations, said Monday the company has signed a contract with Seattle-based Horizon Air to guarantee daily airline service between Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport and Oakland International Airport.

Horizon, starting Dec. 17, will provide a single, daily flight each way on a 70-passenger regional jet, Sibbach said. The contract with Horizon guarantees the service through March 28, he noted.

Sibbach said Horizon officials have not yet established the exact times of the daily flights to and from Oakland, but intend to confirm a schedule by the end of the week. "It should be in the computers this weekend," he said.

Flight fares have not yet been determined but should be "competitive," Sibbach said.

Sibbach said the contract between Sun Valley Co. and Horizon includes a revenue guarantee for Horizon, in exchange for a guarantee that the flights will be operated for the full duration of the contract. Sun Valley Co. would be solely responsible for guaranteeing Horizon’s income goals are met if revenues from passenger fares fall short, he noted.

Sibbach declined to disclose the maximum amount that Sun Valley Co. might have to pay Horizon to subsidize a sub-par level of ticket sales. "It’s a substantial amount that Sun Valley is on the line for," he said. "But we feel it is a risk we need to take."

Amy Olson, communications director for the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau, said the new flight service will greatly enhance the organization’s ability to attract travelers from California’s second-largest market.

"It opens an entirely new market," Olson said. "We’ve always been marketing to the Bay Area, but the barrier has been that people have had to get on two airplanes to get here."

The service could also benefit Wood River Valley-based travelers, affording them convenient access to numerous destinations on the West Coast and in Hawaii.

Chamber officials this summer submitted a $225,000 grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation seeking funds to subsidize flight service to Oakland, but the grant was denied last week.

Sibbach said Sun Valley Co. had already determined it would subsidize the flights if necessary, and now hopes consistent use of the new service will stem any monetary losses to the company.

Sun Valley Co. has also provided revenue guarantees to Horizon for the carrier to continue through March 28 its direct flight service between Hailey and Los Angeles, Sibbach added.

The Los Angeles flight service was guaranteed last year to operate from Dec. 15, 2002, through Dec. 15 of this year. That contract is backed by a $600,000 federal grant to guarantee revenues for Horizon, most of which will likely be used to cover low passenger numbers last spring.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.