Today we’re launching Burner Express Air. The intention of this program is to lower the cost of flying to the event, make it simpler to book a flight, and support our ongoing efforts to promote alternative transportation and reduce traffic congestion on Highway 447.
Participants have been flying to Burning Man nearly as long as the event has been held in the Black Rock Desert, and over the years a thriving community of Burning Man participants who also happen to be aviation enthusiasts has grown up around That Thing in the Desert. We’ve come a long way since Burning Man founder Will Roger helped build the first runway on the Hualapai Flat in 1997. Last year, more than 2,300 participants flew in to 88NV (the official FAA designation for BRC Municipal Airport), and more than 200 volunteers helped to build and operate the airport.
Burning Man has selected Advantage Flight Solutions of Reno, NV, to manage air charter carriers and arrange air transportation to and from Black Rock City Airport in 2016. Participants interested in flying to the event can begin booking flights today at burnerexpress.org.
Burner-owned-and-operated Advantage Flight has a long history of working with and for Burners. The company has provided charter flights to BRC since 2005 and flew over 1,500 event participants in 2015 — they’ve got some serious desert aviation chops. This year Advantage will coordinate charter flights for a number of FAA-certified air carriers serving Black Rock City, offering flights to and from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Reno, Southern California, and the Western United States from Wednesday, August 24 through Tuesday, September 6.
Much like regular airlines, flight costs will vary depending on routes, when they’re purchased and whether they’re one way or round trip (among other factors). Burner Express Air round trips from Reno/Tahoe to BRC start at $495 and from Oakland to BRC from $995. Current prices are available via the Burner Express Air website.
That may sound like a lot, and you’d be right. But it’s actually less than what many people have paid in recent past years, when the charters were not coordinated through a single service provider. By streamlining the process we’ve been able to cut the cost to each individual participant. And while it’s a given that flying is more expensive than driving for nearby Burners, for those traveling long distances or flying in from outside the region, the cost of renting a car for a week (~$500), gas (~$40) and cleaning fee (~$100 to $250 or more) adds up and flying in becomes a viable option.
This change will not affect the “General Aviation” Burners who have been flying their own planes into the event for years. This new program is only for chartered planes making multiple trips to Black Rock City
We’re super grateful to the 7,000 riders who took Burner Express Bus service last year (sincerely!) and in our ongoing quest to reduce traffic to and from BRC, we’re working to make Burner Express Air another viable alternative to driving to the event. In addition to making air travel accessible to more participants, the program will help optimize operations and maintain the excellent safety record at Black Rock City Municipal Airport.
Check out this video to learn more about 88NV, one of the most unique airports in the country!
If you’d like to volunteer at the airport at this year’s event, start by going here.