Two years of planning are about to be put to use as the eclipse approaches.
The Natrona County International Airport is bracing for an influx eclipse tourists, the vast majority arriving on Monday morning according to airport director Glenn Januska.
Private contractor Atlantic Aviation is coordinating with the airport to handle the majority of traffic, which consists mainly of private aircraft, Januska said. Atlantic Aviation is based on the airport grounds just north of the main terminal.
Here is what the airport is preparing to handle so far:
- 195 total aircraft
- 166 arrive on Monday
- 84 are jets, the largest being a Boeing 737
- 81 are single engine or light aircraft
- 1 helicopter
Flights on Monday start arriving at 5:45 and will continue every two minutes until air traffic at the airport is suspended at 11:15 for one hour. Only emergency and rescue aircraft will be handled during that time, said Januska.
Space around the terminal will be very tight, according to Januska. “We’re getting really close to running out of parking,” he said.
Among all the added private traffic, the airport is handling all regular commercial traffic and prepared for air traffic related to emergencies such as wildfires. The commercial airlines have also added flights around eclipse weekend, according to Januska.
In addition to everything else, as of yesterday a Sun Country Airlines chartered 737-800 with 160 passengers was negotiating a spot at the main terminal as well.
Atlantic Aviation is planning on hosting most of the private eclipse tourists, who will view the eclipse from the airport and leave thereafter. The terminal’s bar, Sky Terrace Restaurant and Lounge, is expanding hours and staff for the event, according to owner Debbie Dallman.
“Monday’s gonna be interesting,” said Januska.