Bombers and subsidies on board, other deal off

South Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2001  | September 2001 issue

Air transportation issues have recently captured headlines in three of the state's communities—and two came up winners.

Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City would retain all its B-1 bombers and could add up to 30 jobs in a proposal backed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Plans include ridding Kansas and Georgia bases of all B-1s and improving the quality of remaining bombers at Ellsworth and in Texas.

On a commercial front, Congress appropriated an Essential Air Services subsidy totaling $881,662 to the Brookings Airport for service improvements. With the new assistance, officials optimistically predict a rise in airline travel and hope that boardings in the next two years will reach a level where the subsidy will become unnecessary.

Air Wisconsin decided to remove Sioux Falls Regional Airport from consideration for a new maintenance base. Executives expressed concern regarding Sioux Falls' dearth of boardings compared with other potential locations like Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Officials received word that the airport may serve as a smaller maintenance station in the future, should the need arise.

Kelly Brooks