Noise is a major issue at TVL
. I understand that in the 1992 court settlement, an individual aircraft (commercial or private) that violates the noise limits 3 times in a quarter must be banned from the airport. That could play havoc with scheduling. Also no flights are allowed after 8pm, except for emergencies.
You also have a strong regional regulatory body (the TRPA) and a strong environmental movement in the area. Many local people argue that the airport should be completely shut down to preserve the atmosphere and tranquility of the area as well as eliminate operating loss subsidies from the city.
I believe the Tahoe tourist industry started focusing on driving customers in the 80s, about the same time that Vegas boomed in gambling and other ski areas expanded and pursued attracting customers via airlines. Tahoe area hotels took on a very rundown and tacky look, not too attractive to someone who could fly instead to LAS
, or Aspen, Vail, Whistler, etc. Now the area has begun to improve and redevelop. They've also reduced the number of motel rooms by about 1,000.
Given the current climate around TVL
I can see where a carrier would be reluctant to commit. The political and economic conditions have not looked good for a very long time. Add in very limited daily operations and most carriers would stay away.