CLOVIS (KSMX)- “Come Fly with Me” is what a group of commission members and members of the public heard when the Essential Air Service Taskforce spent the day listening to five company’s bids on the new EAS contract.
After about an hour and a half discussion at the Clovis City Commission meeting on October 22, board members voted and approved (7-1) to recommend Contour Airlines to the Department of Transportation as the best airline for Clovis Airport.
Last August, the U.S Department of Transportation issued a request for a proposal from carriers interested in providing Essential Air Services in Clovis. Five carriers responded to the request, presenting 11 different options for air service to and from Clovis: Advanced Air, Boutique Air, Contour Air, Denver Air, SkyWest
This was the first time that the City of Clovis received these many proposals and resulted in the formation of a task force made of five members of the public and chaired by City Commissioner, Rube Render (non-voting member). This group reviewed all proposals, including offers for Essential Air Services as well as Alternate Essential Services and determine which carrier best suited the needs of the city.
After the presentations and scoring from the task force, the discussion lead to members agreeing that two of the air carriers would best meet the requirements of the “Request of Proposal” from the DOT. These carriers were Contour and SkyWest.
Commission members deliberated between these two choices and listed the pros and cons of each one.
While Contour is still negotiating for connectivity with American Airlines, but expects to make an arrangement soon. Officials said that without TSA services all of the options would have issues booking direct flights, being forced to land and travel to another airport with TSA services.
Commissioner Fidel Madrid also said that Sky West would not be able to service Clovis at all until TSA services were available.
Earlier last month the Clovis/Curry Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey where approximately 2,000 community members voted, and the majority chose Dallas/ Ft. Worth as their choice of destination.
These airlines both had many different aspects that appealed to the public as well as the commission board and would hope in the future push Clovis Airport to not just a “catching a connecting flight” but “reaching your destination” kind of airport. However, the goal will not be achieved until there is a TSA department. That fact and both airlines having the means to carrier military persons lead to the commission board’s decision.
Commissioner Taylor Sawyer had been the opposing vote and commented, “I believe having a smaller airline would have tailored to our needs better. We preach small business and the importance of small business”.
The DOT will be the final decision as to which carrier will take over for Boutique Air who is serving the current EAS contract.