Is Coronavirus causing any delays with Bishop Airport Passenger Service?

So, what’s Happening with the Bishop Airport During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Sierra Wave has been wondering the same thing that many of our listeners and readers might be wondering: Is this coronavirus pandemic slowing down the progress towards to provide passenger air service at the Bishop Airport by November 2020?

The short answer is “no” according to Inyo County Public Works Engineering Assistant, Ashley Helms, who is tasked with the effort and keeping everything moving on track as planned. The coronavirus has not affected the project and so far, nothing has changed from the original goal of having the airport start flying people in and out of the airport on United Airlines in the late fall.

Taxiway and runway rehabilitation are on schedule if the weather continues to warm up and the asphalt company can start manufacturing the asphalt needed to make the repairs. “Cold weather is not hot asphalt concrete’s friend,” said Helms.

Ideally, the ambient air temperature should ideally be around 70°F when laying asphalt concrete, and the concrete itself should be between 248⁰F to 275°F to be compacted properly, which is why it is important to have an asphalt plants close by during construction.

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum, the primary use for which is used in construction of roads…and airport runways where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with other materials called ‘aggregate’ to create asphalt concrete. An advantage of asphalt is that it is easier to remove and repair than regular concrete.

Hot mixed asphalt is manufactured at temperatures between 270°F and 325°F, which is why it is imperative that the plant where it is made is close to the project. Depending on the environmental conditions and the distance from the hot mix plant to the project, hot mix asphalt can lose between 5°F and 25°F.

Subject to funding, there will be more space added to the existing terminal building, and down the road, there will be a dedicated passenger terminal as well in the airport’s future. But first thing residents want to see is for the airport up and running with commercial passenger air service.

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8 Responses to Is Coronavirus causing any delays with Bishop Airport Passenger Service?

  1. RandyK April 24, 2020 at 8:47 am #

    I think having a functioning airport is important for our future, if we want our future to include more than serving the tourists. I suspect high-tech start-ups, remote information workers, and other business people who would want and be able to work here will still need to travel, even in the post-apocalyptic world. An investment in the airport is an investment in our future.

    • Citizen April 25, 2020 at 7:51 pm #

      RandyK, now that makes a lot more sense if sustainable, still extremely risky but possible. Decentralizing the local economy through remote tech work makes the most sense to me. Funneling in income from distributed sources to the valley. Keeping the same tourism and other elements we have while also introducing new work and even educational partnerships for youth to have direct access to vocational-technical careers and spending money in the valley. Technology can be the enemy or the key depending how we use it.

    • Citizen April 25, 2020 at 8:44 pm #

      The wall I keep hitting is physical space becomes an issue when it comes to any type of growth or expansion. There is not an ability or even desire to expand facilities to accommodate any new business of notable size, tech or otherwise. On top of that there are not any housing units for anyone to move into the valley and use that are reasonably priced for techie aged people. If we can look at ways to remediate that issue or simply bypass it all together that would be great. That used to be tourism and retail/services. The issue there is it puts all your eggs in one basket which is a recipe for disaster in a disaster. Which is where the new cloud based technical types of jobs come in and not all tech startups happen in person or on location these days. Instead of a physical datacenter skip the middle man and go all virtual. That is our bypass. If we can house people to do them we need to grow them from the inside somehow. How do we create home grown techies and get them to work across various industries in the cloud and keep them here to spend their money locally? VoTech, instead of going to school for 4 years I went for the rest of my life learning code with a kick start from a local community college program sponsored by the area internet provider on donated surplus equipment from the other large agencies in the area. Just spitballing ideas. Pretty sure I know you RandyK, you helped me with a couple questions about a local athletic scholarship. I just don’t want to put my name on here because of where I work.

  2. MMHFlyer April 23, 2020 at 2:01 pm #

    Did American Airlines take over the route or is it still United?

    • Charles James April 23, 2020 at 2:23 pm #

      My bad! Thanks for pointing it out. I was writing this up at 1am in the morning and slipped up. It is United Airlines and I corrected it in the story.

  3. Yrama April 23, 2020 at 1:09 pm #

    The airlines are in terrible shape because of this pandemic. I doubt if we build it, they will come. The airlines will have to try to dig themselves out of their economic hole by concentrating on the routes that make them the most money.

  4. Bishop Local April 23, 2020 at 10:01 am #

    Hopefully it delays it forever

  5. Citizen April 23, 2020 at 4:31 am #

    I you ask me, under the fiscal strain of this virus, there are probably a hell of a lot better ways to save and generate income and rebuild our economy than building an archaic office building and massive passenger airport. Both will be a giant fiscal sinkhole based on strategies that expired at least a decade ago. If we can build massive pot farms why aren’t we building data centers for Google or something that creates modern jobs?


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