Scenic Air: FAA rules won't affect its Grand Canyon flightseeing biz

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LAS VEGAS -- New Federal Aviation Administration regulations covering flights over the Grand Canyon will not impact Scenic Airlines, which plans to expand operations next year, according to a company spokesman.

"We've been making necessary changes for the past three years," a spokesman for Scenic Airlines said.

A view of the Grand Canyon, where Scenic Air plan to expand its flightseeing operations. Scenic, based here, has spent $500,000 on each of its Twin Otter aircraft to comply with new rules on "quiet technology."

Because of fears of overcrowded skies above the Grand Canyon, the FAA is allocating fewer new routes to some carriers and reducing some flight times.

But the Scenic spokesman said the new rulings -- some of which will go into effect in December -- will cut back the firm's flying tours over the Grand Canyon, currently timed at more than an hour, by only a few minutes.

The company, which has about two dozen helicopters and fixed-wing planes and handles about 500,000 people per year, will announce new package tours before the end of the year.

The spokesman would not elaborate on details, but said the tours would involve river rafting in the area.

He said the tours would include both smooth white-water rafting and more adventure routes as well.

"We'll also be designing some special commission structures that will be announced soon," the spokesman said.

Scenic pays agent commissions of 10% and up to 30% for groups, he said.

In addition to providing a variety of air services to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley in Arizona and Bryce Canyon in Utah from Las Vegas, Scenic, with its travel partners, offers luxury motorcoach services from Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.

The company -- which has been in business for more than 30 years -- has its headquarters at North Las Vegas Airport.

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