An airport can build a state-of-the-art terminal and boast the latest amenities, but it won’t produce the desired results without superb customer service, according to the manager of a Wyoming airport that is entering the second year of a turnaround plan.
That approach is driving changes at the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Devon Brubaker, the airport manager, told AOPA Northwest/Mountain Regional Manager Warren Hendrickson in an email.
“Our staff has really bought into the idea that no matter what facilities we have to offer, the service is what brings customers back,” he wrote.
The two-runway nontowered airport in a strategic location is attended six days a week, has a variety of precision and nonprecision instrument approaches, and sits at an elevation of 6,764 feet msl. “With our location right along the I-80 corridor, we make a perfect fuel stop for those traveling across the Divide. We offer perfect flying weather over 300 days per year, aircraft rescue firefighting, decongested air space, and a more than adequate airfield at a perfect elevation,” says Brubaker, who signed on as manager of both the airport and the airport-owned fixed base operation in May 2015.
Right away on taking over, he observed that general aviation was an asset that was performing beyond its level of local recognition.
“At the time, there was little attention paid to the GA side of the house even though it accounted for 86 percent of our ordinary income each year,” he said. “Recognizing a need, we set out to change the culture and perception amongst the staff and community.”
One of the first changes was to set up a brand identity for the FBO, which now goes by the name of Sweetwater Aviation.
Related customer service initiatives “allow for our customers to have a first class experience from the moment they touch down to wheels up,” he said.
The plan for the future is to start construction in the first quarter of 2017 of a new GA terminal and hangar facility to replace structures built as long ago as the 1920s, “if our funding works as planned.”
Even before that project has launched, the airport crew’s hard work is paying off, as indicated by a 50,000-gallon increase so far this year in fuel sales over the previous year, thanks in part to fuel specials offered each weekend.
The airport also plans to outdo itself this July, when providing services to pilots headed to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“Last year, we welcomed over 200 of these die hard aviation enthusiasts with incredible fuel specials, hangar specials, camping opportunities, and cookouts. These great specials and amenities will be even better this July as we strive to serve over 400 Oshkosh customers,” he said.
Brubaker hastens to point out that even if you are not making the trek to Oshkosh, you are invited to stop at the airport and experience the new Sweetwater Aviation for yourself.