Watertown Airport Board made recommendation for the type of Essential Air Service they want to use

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG)- Watertown’s Airport Board convened Thursday night and officially recommended the option to remain “status quo” with an essential air service contract provided by Denver Air Connection with flights to Denver and Chicago.

Public Works Director Heath VonEye gives some background.

After reviewing with the hired consultant Volaire, Airport Manager Rob Cyrus, City Manager Amanda Mack, and individual board members, VonEye talks about some of the reasons behind the recommendation.

VonEye says out of the over 14,000 enplanements reported in 2022, 60% flew to Denver, and 40% flew to Chicago, showing the Chicago connection does get well used. Informally, some feedback from the general public has been to continue flying to Chicago as is.

Board Member Mike Cartney commented on the feedback he has received.

Board Member Mike Peterson also commented.

Board Member Mike Tomlinson mentioned a smaller than Watertown airport in East River Falls, MN.

VonEye mentioned that DAC is working on a baggage agreement with Delta to make the Minneapolis option more appealing.

The board voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council option 3 to remain with the current flight routes of Denver and Chicago for two years. Once the City Council makes its final recommendation, it will go to the federal DOT for the final decision.