Reno-London Flights Canceled Before Takeoff

May 7, 2015

Credit Thomas Vatany / www.planespotters.net

  Nonstop flights from Reno to London were supposed to take off later this year, but the service has already been canceled. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Thomas Cook Airlines made the call after learning that its customers would have to wait at least three hours to clear U.S. Customs at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Brian Kulpin, with the airport, says it all comes down to staffing.

"There's a need for more customs agents here in Reno," he explains. "We just added one at the beginning of April, but it's not enough to do the job faster."

The airport is working closely with lawmakers to get more boots on the ground, but local officials have no control over the staffing of a federal agency. 

Kulpin says that London would have been a lucrative market for ski resorts and the flight was actually scheduled from mid-December through April specifically to coincide with next ski season. 

"There's a consortium that formed between the ski resorts and the gaming community to help bring this flight to our region," Kulpins says, "and that's still in place. We're going to use that to pursue additional markets."

Right now, the airport and other stakeholders are trying to land nonstop service to Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, along with Vancouver and destinations south of the border. Direct flights from Reno to New York City will start later this month.