Pierre City Commission Recommends SkyWest
Tonight the Pierre City Commission unanimously voted to recommend SkyWest as Pierre’s next air service provider.
SkyWest’s proposal includes six weekly direct round-trip flights between Pierre and Denver, and six weekly round-trip flights to Denver that would be shared with Watertown. The average one-way ticket price will be about $90, and SkyWest will fly as UnitedExpress.
As part of the Essential Air Service (EAS) contracting process, the Commission’s recommendation will now be forwarded on to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) to see if the federal government agrees. The USDOT holds all EAS contracts and has its own review process to determine if an airline will be selected to serve an EAS community.
“The USDOT certainly takes our recommendation into consideration,” said Mike Isaacs, Pierre Airport Manager. “Given the proposals, I have a strong degree of confidence that the USDOT will be in agreement with our recommendation to award the contract to SkyWest.”
The City Commission’s SkyWest recommendation is based on the review of proposals from three separate airlines -SkyWest, Key Lime Air and Boutique Air. The City’s review process included input from an ad hoc Air Service Committee that looked into about 20 different components of each proposal.
“The committee put a lot of weight on whether or not the airline could meet our peak capacity and cargo demands, the ability for the airline to make ticketing and baggage transfers seamless for passengers, and the stability of the airline,” said Isaacs. “SkyWest clearly hits the mark on all of those fronts.”
Mayor Steve Harding, who was part of the City’s ad hoc Air Service Committee says that SkyWest is the nation’s largest regional airline.
“Given the company’s vast network of resources, the review team really felt good about SkyWest’s ability to provide safe, reliable service for the entirety of the contract,” said Harding.
Commission Jamie Huizenga, who has airport oversight, added, “Not only does SkyWest have all of our deal-breakers covered, they also provide a lot additional benefits that travelers will appreciate.”
Those benefits include having boarding bridges in Denver to prevent people from having to stand on the tarmac in the cold, and bathrooms and flight attendants on the hops to Denver.
Once it receives the City’s recommendation, the USDOT has up to 30 days to complete its review and award a contract.