WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) — As expected, the Watertown City Council has approved a recommendation to the U.S. Department of Transportation that would allow a change in the Essential Air Service schedule of SkyWest Airlines doing business as United Express at Watertown and Pierre. The move would eliminate one current daily flight to Denver from Watertown and the evening flight back in exchange for adding a non-stop midday flight from Chicago to Watertown and midday non-stop flight out again back to Chicago. The one remaining daily flight to Denver and back from Watertown would also be non-stop.
Watertown Airport Manager Todd Syhre (SIRE) says that flight survey data shows that 60 percent of those individuals currently flying to Denver from Watertown are linking back east, which indicates a stronger market going in that direction. Syhre says Pierre is also ecstatic about the change because it unties both communities from each other while giving Pierre two Daily non-stop flights to Denver and back, along with a guarantee of more seats. He said it was a one-time deal for Watertown to accept and an overall win-win for both Watertown and Pierre.
Final approval will have to come from the DOT, however Syhre says he has been told by government officials that it shouldn’t be a problem making changes to the Essential Air Service Contract. Service to Chicago from Watertown would begin in September.