On Dec. 16, the Mammoth Lakes Airport Commission gathered for a Draft Forecast Methodology and Findings presentation delivered by Kent Myers of AirPlanners and Howard Pickett of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requested the forecast as part of the Town of Mammoth’s Airport Layout Plan Update that is in process. The forecast looks twenty years out, however, one of the main hurdles identified in the forecast is a current, pressing need.
“We are already at the point where we need a new terminal,” Pickett said.
“We have seven flights per day, coming in now,” added Airport Director Bill Manning. “We need three gates now, not five years from now.”
Currently, Mammoth Yosemite Airport has one gate. The cost of a new terminal building, according to Manning, would be somewhere around $12 million. The Town would hope to get FAA money to fund the project, he said.
But first things, first — the Town must get its ALP in order, which by the look of an email from FAA employee Dr. Elisha Novak still has a ways to go.
Manning, who handed out the email at the Dec. 16 meeting, even though his office had received the email on Dec. 12, said the remarks from Dr. Novak were an “informal, first cut” following the doctor’s review of the Draft ALP Update.
When asked why he did not distribute the email to staff and commissioners earlier in the week so that they could all have a real discussion about the issues raised in the email at the Friday presentation, Manning said, “There was nothing insidious about it. We wanted Friday’s discussion to be about the forecast, not technical ALP issues.”
The four issues raised in the email relate to 1. Runway/taxiway separation. 2. Taxiway/apron separation. 3. The building restriction line and corporate hangers. 4. Corporate hangers penetrating part 77 surfaces.
In addition to the email from the FAA, the Town has also received many technical public comments regarding the ALP. For this reason the Town is currently reviewing proposals from several consultants. Once chosen the consultant will help the Town respond to the comments and move the ALP update forward.
As of press time, Manning said the Town had narrowed the choices but was not ready to announce anything.
In the meantime, the Sprung Structure is now open to provide a larger indoor waiting area at the airport, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism’s Executive Director John Urdi is busy forming the Eastern Sierra Air Alliance. ESAA hopes to bring the local business and homeowner community into the air subsidy mix. It will ask the community to support air service along with Mammoth Mountain, TOML and Mono County. The idea has been thrown around in the past but has never been organized.
Finally, Mammoth Lakes Tourism has partnered with FlightView to provide up to the moment status on flights arriving and departing from Mammoth as well as connecting flights world wide. The service is available at the airport and at www.VisitMammoth.com/fly.