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Fly Me To Laughlin And Bullhead City

Courtesy Sun County
Courtesy Sun County

Charter flights by Sun Country Airlines brings thousands of people to the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport each year. Airport officials are applying for a federal grant to help attract regular airline service

Chris Barton has worked with the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce for five years. As executive director she’s overseen an organization and business community recover from the recession.

But, what she hasn’t seen is a Southwest or Frontier airlines flight land at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport.

The reason is simple, commercial passenger service to Laughlin/Bullhead airport ended more than a decade ago.

Now, with the financial backing of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and others there is a push on to bring regularly scheduled passenger service back to the region.

Barton told KNPR’s State of Nevada the chamber’s decision to pledge $10,000 to the Mojave County Airport Authority “helps with the various conversations with the airlines.” The chamber also pledged $30,000 for in-kind marketing.

“We’ve been talking with several airlines for the past couple of years building those relationships,” Barton said.

Other pledges, include $25,000 from the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and $250,000 from the city of Bullhead City, Ariz. Connie Davis, executive director of the Laughlin chamber, said regular airline service “would be very good,” especially for economic development as more business and visitors come to the region.

Davis said the regular airline service would offer “a more accessible way in and out” of Laughlin and Bullhead City.

The MCAA has until Friday to finalize all pledges, before it applies for a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The authority’s goal is to raise $500,000 in pledges, which won’t be used unless the airport secures the grant and succeeds in getting air service.

Barton said the goal was to get “three flights a week in the first year,” before trying to get daily service. Barton said the airport is focusing on flights to and from Denver, or flights to and from Phoenix.

Service to Denver will bring in 17,500 new visitors in its first year, while regular service between Bullhead City and Phoenix will attract 13,500 new visitors in its first year. Currently, the Riverside Resort and Casino and Harrah’s in Laughlin have regular charter service with Sun Country airlines.

Barton said that agreement brings in about 110,000 visitors a year. In May, 17.345 passengers deplaned at the Laughlin-Bullhead City International Airport which was down 15.1 percent, from the 20,424 in the same month last year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Chris Barton, executive director, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce

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