CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — SkyWest Airlines has won the initial bidding for a long-term state contract to provide commercial air service to as many as four Wyoming cities.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation announced Friday that the airline and the state will now negotiate details of the contract and service agreement, under which the proposed service would be branded United Express and operated by SkyWest.

With fears of losing air service to several cities in the state, the 2018 Wyoming Legislature created a program whereby the state would offer minimum revenue guarantees for a capacity purchase agreement with an airline. Lawmakers appropriated $15 million for the effort.

Airlines were asked for bids, and a selection committee decided that SkyWest offered the best plan to provide air service to Gillette, Riverton, Rock Springs and Sheridan.

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