Pierre Airport looking ahead to the next EAS contract

PIERRE, S.D.(KCCR)- Denver Air Connection is in the middle of a two-year Essential Air Service contract to provide commercial air service to Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis starting at the end of November.  Denver Air was the only airline to seek Pierre’s E-A-S service.  Pierre Mayor Steve Harding say the next bid may be more competitive.

Pierre Regional Airport Manager Brian Cowels says the interest could be coming from the airline industry’s push to amend regulations to deal with a shortage of pilots.

Cowles says that would require an airline to offer more flights from Pierre each day in order to maintain enplanement numbers to hit 10-thousand boadings a year.  Harding says the city’s history has established the city can support 50-seat jet travel.

Cowles says current aircraft could have seats removed to make them 30-seat planes which means the airport’s jet bridge could still be utilized.  Harding says going to planes that couldn’t use the bridge would be a hard sell for the public.