Klamath Falls, Ore. – Efforts to restore commercial air service to the Crater Lake / Klamath Regional Airport cleared a major hurdle Tuesday.
A Federal Aviation Administration bill passed by the U.S. Senate Tuesday morning includes a provision to restore T.S.A. screenings to the airport in Klamath Falls.
Klamath Falls has been without passenger air service since United Express pulled out nearly two years ago.
Car rental agent Mark Young was hit hard, “We lost maybe 18 to 24 percent of our business when we lost the airline two years ago. And that’s not a hit that we relish taking, nor would anybody.”
While the city made a deal last summer with PenAir to restore air service to and from Portland, the T.S.A. said they would not resume security screenings – effectively grounding the effort.
The ‘T.S.A. Fairness Act’ was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to restore the screenings. While the House has passed the act, they’ll still need to pass the F.A.A. bill to put it before the President for a signature.
Airport Director John Barsalou said, “We’re hopeful that if everything goes well, which we anticipate, that we’ll have air service back maybe in the fall, late fall, before the holidays.” Barsalou adds that the effort will then shift to retaining that service, “We have to keep those flights full, in order to keep PenAir here, and to keep the T.S.A. here.”
At this time, there are no indications as to when the F.A.A. bill will go before the U.S. House.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.