Key Lime Air arrived at Lee Bird Field on Friday morning to pitch the city on bringing the company in to service the area with flights to Denver. The company is one of seven that will interview for the opportunity to provide air service in and out of North Platte Regional Airport.
The company is based in Denver and has been providing service for United Parcel Service freight into the North Platte community for the last 19 years. The plane the company will use for the air service is a Dornier 328 jet.
“It’s a great airplane,” said Cliff Honeycutt, president and co-owner of the airline. “They were manufactured between 2000 and 2003. They are all relatively low-time airplanes. They’re a great airplane to ride on. You can stand up in them. There’s a flight attendant, a full stand-up bathroom.”
The plane has 30 leather seats. Flight time from North Platte to Denver is about 38 minutes.
Key Lime was founded about 20 years ago and currently has 30 airplanes in its fleet, flying about 15,000 hours annually. Honeycutt said the goal is to move more into passenger service for the company. In competition with six other airlines for the right to service North Platte, the primary reason Honeycutt believes their airline is the one for North Platte is because of the company itself.
“I don’t think it’s as much about the airplane as it is about the organization itself,” Honeycutt said. “We’re a local airline that started out with one airplane about 20 years ago. We do a lot of freight. We’ve just now gotten into the passenger industry and this is actually our end game. We want to bring air service back to the small communities that have suffered a degrade in that service.”
The plan is to have two flights a day to Denver, which would include air service to and from Kearney.
“We’ve got a little bit different model and the fact that we’re based in Denver with a company grown out of our own blood and sweat, I think people will have a little better appreciation for what it is that we bring,”
Honeycutt said. “Because we’re invested in the community, if there’s a problem we’re going to address it. There’s no big corporate headquarters. It’s a simple phone call and we’re going to have an explanation.”
Honeycutt said that Key Lime Air has no desire to become another national or international airline company, but wants to focus on providing service to local communities like North Platte.
“We think we can do it better,” Honeycutt said.
Original article can be found here: http://www.nptelegraph.com