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New Air Service In Jamestown And Devils Lake - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Air Service In Jamestown And Devils Lake

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The last flights involving Great Lakes Airlines have come and gone at the Jamestown regional airport. 

Great Lakes pulled airline service to a number of it's stops because of difficulties with the federal aviation administration over tougher qualifications for first officers and co-pilots.

Replacement air service is on the way for cities like Jamestown and Devils Lake. SkyWest Airlines is bringing 11 nonstop roundtrip flights a week to Devils Lake and Jamestown to the Denver International Airport.  

"The community deserves good air service here." says Chairman of the Board Jim Boyd.

Years ago Jamestown regional airport saw flying numbers when Delta was a part of their service, but with Great Lakes Airlines the numbers fell by more than 50%.

"We were at about 800 a month during our weaning days of Delta during our last few months with them," says Jamestown Airport Manager Matt Leitner, "with Great Lakes we were averaging about 225."

"The market right now is running to either Fargo or Bismark quite frankly." Jim adds.

That's why the hard work to bring in SkyWest Airlines gives both Matt and Jim a positive look on what's to come.

"We're looking forward to having excellent rebound recapturing our market share that we've lost." Jim says.

They add the support has come from all around for the change.

"Our congressional delegation helped us do it, the community helped us do it, steak-holders helped us do it, the airport authorities was a part of it, so it was just a really, it worked better than a Swiss watch, it was just amazing." Matt says with a smile.

Essential Air Service is funded on user fees from aircraft cargo and ticket tax, not residents tax dollars.

"It's user funded," Matt says, "I'm a pilot I have a small plane, when I buy gas I pay a little bit of money into what's called the airport  and airway trust fund."

Matt and Jim are hoping there's enough growth from this change to provide more airline choices in the future.

"We're looking to recapture our market and maybe make a foray into other markets and capture some pesters we've never had before." Matt says.

SkyWest Airlines will begin moving equipment into the airport, but will not be offering commercial flights until June.
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