ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – Last week, SkyWest Airline Service announced the termination of nearly 30 routes across the U.S. due to pilot staffing issues. Aberdeen regional airport officials say this could have some affect on the Hub City.
As far as concerns that SkyWest would shut down operation in Aberdeen, Transportation Director Rich Krokel says that isn’t likely.
”Right now, I’m not concerned. Our employment numbers are on the rise. Before the Covid, we were number 8 in a listing of 114 EAS airports,” said Krokel.
Krokel says that the routes that were terminated were United Airline routes. SkyWest is the sole servicer for Aberdeen, but with a Delta Airlines route.
Last year, Aberdeen Regional Airport turned down a bid from Denver Air Connection. Having a second provider would require more traffic.
”We’ve learned to live with that. Would we like to have more than one provider? Yes. Realistically though, in order for us to have that, we’d need to have a higher airflow than what we do now,” said Carl Perry, Vice Chairman of the Aberdeen Airport Board.
One of the routes terminated by SkyWest was Jamestown, North Dakota. Perry says that while he doesn’t like to see any routes terminated, that cancellation could bring more traffic to Aberdeen.
”There are some people that have bled away from Aberdeen, and they’ve went up to Jamestown to fly. They will no longer have that as an option, so I think this could be an enhancement for Aberdeen’s travel,” said Perry.
If Aberdeen had been affected by the route terminations, Krokel says that they have a plan in place.
”If we were affected, we would have received a 90-day notice. During that time, we would have reached out to U.S. DOT and got permission to go out and look for other bids,” said Krokel.
The Aberdeen Regional Airport has a contract with SkyWest until February of 2025.