It appears Central North Dakota will soon be getting a break from bad and unreliable airline service. Great Lakes Airlines pulled out of Jamestown and Devils Lake in January, leaving both cities without airline service.
But now, officials gathered at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Grand Forks say that "Skywest", flying under the banner of United Airlines will soon replace Great Lakes Airline service in Jamestown and Devils Lake.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: "We anticipate we're going to be back in the air, both in Devils Lake and Jamestown fairly soon."
Passenger boarding's here at Grand Forks and in Fargo have consistently been going up. However, airport managers in Devils Lake and Jamestown will tell you, their markets have taken a big hit, because of poor service from regional carriers.
Matthew Leitner, Manager Jamestown Airport: "Problem after problem with respect to crew shortages, mechanical issues, a lot of technical problems."
Reporter: "They just kept canceling flights?"
Reporter: "And pretty soon you
lose all you customers?
However, Leitner says he's confident that when Sky West begins its daily flights from Jamestown to Denver, they'll regain passengers now being lost to Bismarck and Fargo.
Matthew Leitner: "Well, they pledge essentially parody with Fargo and Bismarck… competitive fares."
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: "On of the things we impressed very heavily on Skywest is that… you set a schedule and you live by that schedule. We're going to be watching this very closely and carefully."
Those words carry some clout and should result in better service, since the federal government is subsidizing Sky West to provide essential airline service to Jamestown and Devils Lake.
Skywest has just announced they'll begin flying out of Jamestown and Devils Lake on June 5th. You'll be able to begin purchasing tickets on Jamestown and Devils Lake flights this Saturday, through United Airlines.