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NYC airline service likely

John Seelmeyer

Nonstop air service between Reno and

New York City is likely in the next 18

months, and Reno

airport officials

continue to work

hard to win direct

service to Atlanta.

Other strategic

initiatives of airport

officials include

direct flights to San Diego, and a longerterm

goal is development of direct international

flights, says Krys Bart, executive

director of the Airport Authority of

Washoe County.

Bart told members of the Northern

Nevada Development Authority in

Carson City last week that she is “rather

confident” that JetBlue will launch a daily

red-eye between Reno and New York.

Direct service between Reno and

Atlanta, she said, is particularly critical

for the northern Nevada ski industry.

Florida residents account for the single

largest number of ski tourists of any

state in the nation, and they typically

travel through Atlanta.

Bart said airport officials can show that

enough Atlanta-bound passengers to fill

two and a half planes a day already leave

Reno, and that’s without the effects of any

marketing push.

Direct service to San Diego, she said,

is hamstrung by limited airport facilities at

the southern California city.

Direct international flights from Reno

to Mexico, the Pacific Rim and the

United Kingdom are priorities over the

next decade, she said.

The top airport official cautioned,

however, that all of the airport’s strategic

plans could evaporate if the United States

goes to war with Iraq.

Effects of a war on Reno-Tahoe

International Airport, Bart said, would

include:

* Rising fears of terrorism among the

flying public.

* Increasing fuel prices, which might be

enough to send some already weak carriers

into bankruptcy.

* Loss of privately owned aircraft to

troop transport.

While the recent decision by American

Airlines to drop two daily flights to Los

Angeles worry Bart and other airport officials,

she said the longer-term view of

American’s move is more positive.

The carrier, she said, faces substantial

pressure from low-cost airlines, and the

loss of the flights to Los Angeles is part of

a cost-cutting effort that will reduce the

number of American Airlines flights by 9

percent domestically.

“I’d rather lose two flights than lose the

airline,” Bart said.