There's something in the air

South Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2007  | March 2007 issue

Airports throughout the state are seeking ways to improve or retain services. Sioux Falls has rolled out the red carpet hoping a new airline will call the airport home. The regional airport authority approved a measure to waive landing and rent fees, as well as close to $85,000 for marketing and promotion.

The perks are available for any new airline, but are apparently targeted at Frontier Airlines, according to local news reports, in part because of expected daily routes to Denver and Chicago. The airport is currently served by five airlines, but two (United and Northwest) carry about 82 percent of all passengers. The Sioux Falls airport is coming off a record number of boardings last year—about 372,000, or 2.6 percent more than the record set in 2000 and 3.7 percent higher than in 2005.

Over in Aberdeen, the airport authority there has unveiled a five-year, $9.2 million master plan to upgrade the facilities, half of which will go to replacing the current taxiway. Local taxpayers will be on the hook for a tiny fraction of the project's total cost—about $278,000, according to airport officials—with the remainder coming from the Federal Aviation Administration and the South Dakota Office of Aeronautics, according to the Aberdeen News.

Ronald A. Wirtz