Business View Magazine | December 2020

229 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2020 ELY A I RPORT Freight and medical flights carried on, largely uninterrupted. Medical flights continue to account for the bulk of Ely Airport’s traffic. William Bee Ririe Critical Access Hospital and the William Bee Ririe Rural Health Clinic serve an area of nearly 9,000 square miles. They offer some services but cannot do everything larger facilities in Salt Lake City or Las Vegas can. And both of those cities are nearly four hours away by car. “Having the Medflight capacity definitely helps with folks relocating to small town America,” says Godon. “They have that security that if something does happen, then they can be to a large, capable hospital fairly quickly, so that gives the residents in Ely and the surrounding area great peace of mind.” Regional airports are well regarded as an extension of their local communities, and the important role they play in economic development and tourism cannot be understated. That holds especially true for Ely Airport. The nearby City of Ely is a four-season mountain town with a rich history, an appreciation for art and culture, and the best outdoor recreation in the state. As Kyle Horvath, Director of Tourism & Recreation for White Pine County, attests, “Tourism and economic development are the same thing in my eyes. You develop a quality of life in a place that is great to visit and eventually people will start to consider it a viable place to live. For me, an airport has less to do with flying in visitors for the weekend and more to do with creating the opportunity for streamlining supply chain and distribution, improving medical services, and creating recreational opportunities that will draw people and industry to the area for the long term. White Pine County has room to grow and having such an important piece of infrastructure as Ely Airport already in place puts us at an advantage over other developing rural communities.”