Skywest to provide air service
SkyWest Airlines has been selected by the United States Department of Transportation to provide commercial air service to International Falls and three other locations in the state.
The service at the Falls International Airport, Brainerd, Iron Mountain/Kingsford, Mich., and Rhinelander, Wis., will include flights with 50 passenger Canadian Regional Jet 200 aircrafts to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for a two-year period.
According to the U.S. DOT, the annual subsidy rates to provide the essential air service to International Falls is $1.1 million.
SkyWest Airlines, headquartered in St. George, Utah, has a fleet of 318 aircraft and partners with carriers including Delta Airlines.
Bob Anderson, chairman of the local airport commission, said the next steps involve determining when SkyWest will begin service in the community, however he said it appears the transition will occur in October.
SkyWest representatives are expected to visit the community soon, said Anderson, who has spoken with SkyWest vice-president Brad Rawson.
“They certainly want to build a relationship with the community and we’re looking forward to that as well as to develop a strong working relationship with them,” said Anderson this week.
Anderson said airport commission members are excited that SkyWest has been selected to provide service to the community.
“They are a solid regional air carrier and will be flying under the Delta logo with a partnership with Delta so that service out of Minneapolis-St. Paul will continue as it has for quite a number of years,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he expects a seamless transition.
Anderson said Delta has a contract with the airport commission to rent space in the terminal and SkyWest will take over that contract.
The process to select a new air carrier began in the summer of 2010 when Delta announced it would stop providing service when a new carrier was selected.
Great Lakes Aviation secured the bid to serve the Falls, but withdrew its bid because it was unable to work out a business plan and suggested the U.S. DOT seek new bids for the route.
“That was when SkyWest stepped forward to give that service to International Falls,” said Anderson.