Denver Air Connection and the City of Pierre proudly announce weekly nonstop flights between Pierre, SD and Minneapolis, MN.
Denver Air Connection (DAC) will begin offering flights between Pierre and Minneapolis on Nov. 30, 2023 with late afternoon departures and early evening arrivals on both Thursdays and Sundays.
Ticketing for Minneapolis flights will opening by July 7.
Direct flights between Pierre and Denver will continue with daily flights the remainder of the week.
“We were very deliberate about this schedule change,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “We don’t want to disrupt travel plans that have already been made, and we know there are many already in play for the hunting season.”
Jon Coleman, DAC Business Development Director, says that very few booked tickets will be impacted by this change.
“Anyone who has an existing ticket and will be impacted by the adjustment will be contacted by their ticketing agent.”
Airport Commissioner Jamie Huizenga said that setting a schedule isn’t easy.
“This scheduling business is somewhat of an art form. We’re making some informed assumptions about demand to both hubs, as well as days people prefer to fly,” said Huizenga. “As the picture starts to become clearer, we may find that we need to tweak our plan.”
Part of the challenge with the two-hub service is connectivity in Minneapolis.
“If people just want to get to Minneapolis, this service will work well for them,” said Coleman. “Connecting flights in Minneapolis are more of a challenge because Minneapolis is a Delta hub and we don’t have an agreement with Delta.”
Though Coleman did imply that DAC is working to build relationships with Delta with the goal of providing seamless connections between DAC and Delta flights.
Regardless of schedule, to receive its annual $1 million federal subsidy, the Pierre Regional Airport must have 10,000 enplanements a year. If the airport falls short of that, the $1 million used to make capital improvements at the airport is jeopardized.
“We’re very excited to offer two-hub service,” said Mayor Harding. “And it’s very important for the service to be successful; Denver Air, our consultant, as well as City staff looked at a lot of data and put in many hours to develop this plan.”
Denver Air Connection has served as Pierre’s Essential Air Service (EAS) airline since July 2021 providing 12 weekly round-trip nonstop flights to Denver. In the most recent EAS bid cycle, DAC submitted the option for a portion of the flights to be allocated to Minneapolis.