This week, the Pierre City Commission learned that commercial air service from Pierre to Minneapolis is no longer an option. Pierre’s current commercial air service provider, ADI, withdrew its proposal to provide daily flights between Minneapolis and Pierre. Lack of gate space at the Minneapolis airport is to blame.
This change left the Pierre City Commission with no choice but to change its recommendation to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) regarding its choice for the new two-year Essential Air Service (EAS) contract.
Mike Isaacs, Pierre Regional Airport Manager says that with the change in offer from ADI, the remaining viable contract options are to continue Pierre’s current service, rebid the entire contract, or diminish current service by recommending a carrier with much smaller planes.
“Given our current hand and contract timing, the Air Service Task Force recommends continuing our service with ADI flying twelve roundtrips weekly between Denver and Pierre,” said Isaacs.
The Pierre City Commission agreed with the Task Force and will submit to the USDOT a revised recommendation to maintain its current service.
“Although it’s certainly disappointing to lose the Minneapolis option, I think it’s very important for the commission and our community to remember that we are in much better shape than we were just two years ago,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding.
Pierre’s commercial air activity is nearly double what it was in 2016. In August of 2016, ADI took over the federal contract to provide air service to Pierre.
“ADI returned reliable scheduled jet air service to central South Dakota,” said Harding.
The USDOT currently has an EAS contract with ADI and subsidizes the air carrier to ensure Pierre has access to commercial air service. The USDOT leads the contracting process by calling for proposals from airlines interested in serving the Pierre market and ultimately choosing the winning proposal. The USDOT gives EAS communities, like Pierre, the opportunity to review the proposals and make a recommendation.