Inyo County Provides Update on Commercial Air Service Project

Inyo County has been working towards commercial air service at the Bishop Airport for the last several years with a goal of flights to Bishop starting in October of 2020. This aggressive timeline provided little or no margin for unforeseen circumstances.

“In consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, we have determined that we will be unable to make the October 2020 opening date. This means service will not be available for the winter season,” CAO Clint Quilter said. “This decision is not made lightly and does not decrease our resolve to have commercial flights to the Bishop Airport commencing in 2021. The schedule has been impacted by a variety issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Already tight turnaround times by Inyo County, its consultants, and the FAA were impacted by the initial confusion caused by shifting to a primarily work-at-home environment. Important trainings to prepare for staffing a commercial airport were delayed or cancelled. Finally, uncertainty regarding Federal, State and local budgets in the near term make decisions to front money and cash flow to the project much more difficult.

“That being said, we are proceeding with all of the design work, physical improvements, environmental documents, and equipment purchases necessary to begin commercial service in 2021,” Quilter said.

This work includes:

 Bishop Airport Taxiway Rehabilitation Project  Bishop Airport Runway 12-30 Runway Rehabilitation Project  Purchase Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Vehicle

 Fire Fighter Certification for Airport Personnel

 Completion of Environmental Assessment and Initial Study of the Proposed Commercial Service

 Final Part 139 Certification

 Terminal Design and Purchase

 Negotiation with Airline Regarding Facility Use

Inyo County, the Federal Aviation Administration, Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area are working in partnership towards, and are committed to, commercial air service at the Bishop Airport in 2021