The plan to bring summer air service to the Mammoth Airport may cost less than anticipated.
The first winter of Horizon Air fights out of LAX exceeded expectations.. Town and ski area officials called the winter air service a success after the planes were on average filled to 69% capacity for the December to April season. There has been talk of expanding the winter service to two flights a day, and possibly adding flights out of San Jose to attract northern California skiers.
While the plan is to eventually have the air service make money on its own, currently the flights are subsidized by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Plans to add flights during the summer months have been uncertain due to money.Who will pay how much for the air service?
Now town officials report that cost estimates for summer flights have come in lower than expected. If the flights run mid- April to mid-December, leaving a gap in October and November, the total estimated subsidy would be $650,000, which Mammoth Mountain Ski Area would be willing to split with the town, according to officials.
On the winter flights, Mammoth Mountain pays Horizon a subsidy to ensure the airline makes money on the flights. When we last spoke with Ski Area staff, they couldnt go into detail on the numbers, but did say that the first winter of commercial air service cost the Ski Area less than half of what had been budgeted.
Commercial Air Service has returned to Mammoth Airport, but after the environmental lawsuit, the changed plans, the terminal project and the $30 million judgment against the Town over a condo development, the airport has been costly so far. Whether the town moves ahead with summer service is yet to be seen.
The Town Council is set to consider paying for summer service at their meeting Wednesday night.