SF 1st Flight Arrival

Bishop’s Eastern Sierra Regional Airport has officially opened with the first commercial flights arriving Sunday December 19, 2021.

Four and a half years ago, the then Inyo County’s Public Works Director, the late Clint Quilter, was spearheading the development of Bishop’s Airport.

At that point, the project was in the first of a three phase undertaking and there was still a lot of back-and-forth with the Town of Mammoth Lakes. During an Eastern Sierra Council of Government meeting, Quilter explained the issue: Mammoth had experience with air service but an airport with issues; Inyo County may not have had the experience but it did have an airport with few constraints.

What looked like a rivalry back then has morphed into a partnership, best illustrated by a joint invitation from Mammoth Tourism Commission Executive Director John Urdi and Inyo County Deputy Director of Airports Ashley Helms—an invitation to celebrate the first day of commercial air service in Bishop.

Airport 009

photos by Deb Murphy

The first official United Express flight came in at 12:30 Sunday from Denver, carrying 58 passengers from and 58 back to Denver. The 2:40 flight dropped off 61 passengers from San Francisco and returned to San Francisco with 10.

Even for someone who spent a good 15 years watching airplanes taking off over the ocean from Los Angeles International Airport, Sunday’s flights against the back drop of the Inyo Mountains was breathtaking.


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