BOISE -- Caroline Merritt with the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce knows how important it is for a business community to have an airport with a decent amount of direct flights to big cities.
It's important for retaining different businesses and for attracting new businesses that are considering a move to Idaho, said Merritt. We haven't heard that as a specific reason for a business not choosing Boise. But we know it's a factor. We know it's critical to businesses when they're thinking about convenience, cost, and time.
Over the past few years, businesses have raised a lot of concerns about the Boise Airport not being up to par. Just this week, one of the nation's largest building material suppliers, BMC, announced it will move its headquarters from Boise to Atlanta, partially because of the air service in both cities.
I don't want to call it a weak link. I want to say that it's an opportunity for us. It remains one of our top priorities, said Merritt.
That priority shows. The Chamber's President and CEO Bill Connors is the vice-chair of the Boise Airport Commission. He, along with plenty of others have worked to start to turn things around.
A few years ago, we were hearing a little bit more concern about our air service. But, in the past couple years, with all the work that the Boise Airport has put into finding new service, the concerns have definitely lessened, said Merritt.
In fact, five new flights have been added in just the last year; San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Salt Lake City.
While we're never going to enjoy the air service that places like Atlanta and Boston have. We've made considerable progress, said Merritt. Although, she admits there's still plenty of work to be done.
Merritt say Boise businesses can help the situation.
The number one thing that businesses can do is just support the routes by flying them, said Merritt. Airlines make business decisions when they're looking at expanding or subtracting routes. They look at how many seats are being filled. So the biggest thing that businesses can do is just fly the routes. Support our existing service and that will lead to more service.
Meanwhile, the BMC office in Boise will remain open, but not as the headquarters. Also, another concern raised by BMC in their move was population base. Merritt made the point that while Boise's air service is inferior to a city like Atlanta, Boise does have more air service than cities its size.