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OST-2011-0138 - EAS at Pierre, SD

http://cityofpierre.org/154/Airport


EAS Docket


Essential Air Service at Pierre, South Dakota

OST-2011-0138

July 15, 2011

Notice of Termination by Mesaba Aviation and Pinnacle Airlines

Mesaba Aviation and Pinnacle Airlines, each a certificated carrier, hereby give notice of intent to discontinue the current service provided at Aberdeen, SD, effective October 13, 2011.

Delta has notified Mesaba and Pinnacle that Delta can no longer economically continue this service. Delta is in the process of retiring all turboprop and numerous small jet aircraft operated by Mesaba and Pinnacle. All of the Saab 340 aircraft operated by Mesaba for Delta Connection will be retired by year end. Delta has notified Mesaba and Pinnacle that high fuel costs and low passenger demand further necessitate the filing of this notice. We understand that Great Lakes Airlines intends to submit a bid should the Department issue a request for proposals to select an EAS carrier.

Counsel: Max Shemesh, 651-637-5218 for Mesaba / Megan Rae Rosia, 202-965-4889 for Pinnacle



July 31, 2011

Comments of City of Pierre

The service from Pierre to Minneapolis is a critical eastbound link to the national air transportation system just as the current service from Pierre to Denver satisfies the need for westbound service.

We understand that Delta Connection carriers intend to continue service from Pierre to Minneapolis until a replacement service is in place however this is not clear in the notice of termination. The notice acknowledged that the discontinuation of service appeared to cause service to drop below the EAS guarantee levels established by the Department but left open the question of whether or not the Department would require a hold-in. We believe that this should be clear. The current Great Lakes service from Pierre to Denver does not satisfy the EAS guarantee level and, as such, we understand that the Department will issue a hold-in order requiring a continuation of service until a replacement carrier is in place.

We have met with Great Lakes and welcome their interest in expanding their presence at Pierre with service to Minneapolis.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill, 605-295-7093



Order 2011-9-5
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served September 13, 2011

Order Prohibiting Suspension of Service and Requesting Proposals

By this order, the Department prohibits SkyWest Airlines, Inc. d/b/a Delta Connection from terminating service at Butte, Montana. At Pierre, South Dakota, we will permit the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines, d/b/a Delta Connection -- to terminate their service at the end of the 90-day notice period, and rely on the remaining, subsidy-free service of Great Lakes Aviation, Inc. We prohibit Mesaba and Pinnacle from suspending the service that they jointly provide at the 22 remaining communities for 30 days beyond the end of the 90-day notice period, i.e., November 12. We are also requesting proposals by October 12 from carriers interested in providing replacement essential air service at all of the communities.

By: Susan Kurland



September 7, 2011

Comments of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)

By: Tim Johnson



October 3, 2011

Petition of City of Pierre and Pierre Regional Airport for Reconsideration of Order 2011-9-5

By Order 2011-9-5, the Department required Sky West and Mesaba/Pinnacle to maintain service until November 12, 2011 at 23 of the 24 communities for which these Delta Connection carriers had given notice of intent to terminate service. The one and only point where service was not held in was Pierre. The Department's order thus permits Mesaba/Pinnacle to terminate its subsidy-free service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, leaving Pierre only with twice-daily service to Denver by Great Lakes Aviation using 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft.

The Department's rationale is that service to Denver provides the City all the service considered "essential" in light of the abundance of connections available at that hub. In so doing, the Order effectively redefines EAS at Pierre as twice-daily service to one hub, Denver, with 19-seat aircraft. The Department evidently believes that circuity is no significant problem for Pierre, as passengers destined to Minneapolis "make up only a small portion of the total passengers at Pierre," and the four states closest to MSP, which therefore have the highest percentage of backhaul via Denver, account for only 12 percent of total passengers at Pierre.

The City recognizes that the Department is under pressure to live within a shrinking EAS budget. Nonetheless, it still must carry out a legislative mandate to ensure the provision of air service meeting the definition of "essential" under applicable standards and precedent. The City objects strenuously to the Order as inconsistent with the Department's legal obligation. The Department's finding contravenes all prior precedent concerning essential air service at Pierre, without any change in the operative facts, and effectively ignores the critical considerations that motivated the previous orders of the Civil Aeronautics Board and Department of Transportation. It is also inconsistent with the Department's treatment of other communities affected by the Order.

Counsel: Cozen O'Connor, Mark Atwood



OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served October 12, 2011

Notice of Extension

By Order 2011-9-5 the Department requested proposals at the twenty-three communities shown, with proposals due no later than October 12. By email dated October 11, Air Choice One requested an extension until October 14. Another carrier orally requested an extension for the same period.

We have decided to grant the carriers’ requests, as the additional amount of time is not unreasonable. All parties must now file competitive proposals for the twenty-three communities listed above no later than October 14, 2011.

By: Dennis DeVany



October 17, 2011

Motion for Leave to File and Amendment to Petition of City of Pierre

We wish to re-emphasize that air service over an eastern hub is, and always has been, of critical importance to the community, the state government, Indian tribal communities, and businesses throughout the region. The discussions that occurred on October 11 highlighted the importance of such service relative to the only service that would remain under Order 2011-9-5 - twice-daily service to Denver using 19-seat aircraft, in conjunction with Huron, S.D. Nearly three-quarters of the passengers using the airport travel via MSP rather than to DEN, and the number of MSP boardings continues to increase. In contrast, the Denver service does not even comply with the level of EAS prescribed by the CAB and DOT for the last 30 years either in terms of its destination (only one hub) or the number of seats provided (a theoretical maximum of 38, and as low as 28 in practice, rather than 60 as required.

However, the Pierre community is not sitting idly by waiting for a handout. City officials and their consultants are in serious discussions with at least three air carriers on plans to institute service between Pierre and either MSP or Chicago (O'Hare). (All of these carriers submitted bids on October 14 for other communities affected by DL's pullout.) Such service may not require EAS subsidy, though that cannot as yet be determined. The City, in fact, wishes to avoid receiving EAS subsidy if possible, as that would prevent the airport from continuing to assess passenger facility charges (PFCs), which are an essential component of the airport's revenue. Nonetheless, these carriers would not be able to begin service before early 2012. This would leave a gap of months, which would be very damaging to the community for a number of reasons.

Counsel: Cozen O'Connor, Mark Atwood



October 13, 2011

South Dakota State Representative in Support

I write to ask your assistance in retaining east bound air transportation for Pierre, SD. In my current role as a state legislator, it is unthinkable of what the cost will be to have individuals who come to work with the legislature travel 6 hours by car in the dead of winter because they cannot get a flight to Pierre. Most of these persons come from east of the state.

By: Tad Perry, District 24




October 31, 2011

Governor of South Dakota in Suppot of Petition for Reconsideration

I write in support of the Petition for Reconsideration filed by the City of Piene for Order 2011-9-5 which terminated the Essential Air Service designation for the Pierre to Minneapolis route. The Order ends thirty years of precedence which gave Piene service to two hubs as an EAS designation. Because the large majority of flights to and from Pierre have historically flown through Minneapolis, the Order could have a significant impact on air service to our state 's Capital City and state government operations.

I understand the budget constraints Congress is under. However, the Pierre airport currently receives no EAS funding. The designation would merely provide some assurances to air carriers since they would be eligible for subsidized service and, therefore, help Pierre secure a new carrier to pick up the route being vacated by Delta.

A state capital should not be left without meaningful air service and I respectfully ask that you reconsider the Department's decision and restore the eastern EAS route to either Minneapolis or Chicago.

By: Governor Dennis Daugaard



Order 2011-11-4
OST-2011-0138

Issued and Served November 2, 2011

Order Granting Motion to File Petition for Reconsideration

By this order, the Department is (a) granting the motion of the City of Pierre, South Dakota to file a petition for reconsideration of Order 2011-9-5, and (b) extending Mesaba Aviation, Inc.’s termination date, pending the Department’s final decision on the petition.

In addition, we are holding-in Delta pending our final determination of Pierre’s Petition. We recognize that the process of Delta’s filing to suspend service and the City’s subsequent filings have created confusion and uncertainty over the status of Pierre’s air service. Adding to the confusion is the fact that even though we allowed Delta to suspend service on October 13, 2011, the carrier is continuing to serve the market through November 20, 2011. We are concerned about the uncertainty of the traveling public over the status of Pierre’s air service, and we are also cognizant of the fact that the holiday season begins at the same time as Delta’s planned suspension date of November 20. In order to provide some certainty to the traveling public in these unusual circumstances, especially during the holiday season, we will amend Delta’s suspension date specified in Order 2011-9-5 to January 15, 2012, and we will require Delta to continue to provide two round trips a day (12 a week) in the Pierre-Minneapolis market through January 15, 2012.

By: Susan Kurland



Order 2011-11-8
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served November 4, 2011

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this order, the Department extends the essential air service obligation of SkyWest Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection, at Butte, Montana, for an additional 30 days, through December 12, 2011. Additionally by this order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection at the 22 remaining communities for 30 days, through, December 12, 2011.

By: Todd Homan



November 16, 2011

Comments of City of Pierre

Realistically, Great Lakes will not likely be able to initiate service at PIR before March of next year. Thus, the end is in sight, but is not yet imminent. It is therefore imperative that the Department, as soon as possible, grant our pending Petition for Reconsideration, as amended, define essential air service for Pierre as consisting of service to M8P, and notify Delta that it must continue service during this transition period, just as it is at the other 23 communities. Adequate advance notice to the carrier is needed to ensure that it will be able to coordinate its aircraft and crew schedules to avoid the kind of situation with which it is currently faced.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill



Order 2011-11-33
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served November 30, 2011

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this order, the Department extends the essential air service obligation of SkyWest Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection at Butte, Montana, for an additional 30 days, through December 12, 2011. Additionally by this order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection at the 22 remaining communities for 30 days, through, January 11, 2012.

By: Todd Homan



Order 2011-12-5
OST-2011-0138

Issued and Served December 14, 2011

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this Order, the Department of Transportation extends the Essential Air Service obligation of Mesaba Aviation and Pinnacle Airlines, d/b/a Delta Connection at Pierre, South Dakota, for an additional 30 days, through January 15, 2012.

By: Todd Homan



Order 2011-12-25
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served December 29, 2011

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this Order, the Department extends the Essential Air Service obligation of SkyWest Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection at Butte, Montana, for an additional 30 days, through February 10, 2012. Additionally by this Order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection -- at the remaining communities for 30 days, through February 10, 2012.

By: Todd Homan



Order 2012-1-7
OST-2011-0138

Issued and Served January 10, 2012

Thirty-Day Hold-In Extension

By this Order, the Department of Transportation extends the Essential Air Service obligation of Mesaba Aviation and Pinnacle Airlines, d/b/a Delta Connection at Pierre, South Dakota, for an additional 30 days, through February 14, 2012, or until Great Lakes begins replacement service, on or about February 1, 2012.

By: Todd Homan



Order 2012-1-32
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served January 31, 2012

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this Order, the Department extends the essential air service obligation of SkyWest Airlines, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection at Butte, Montana, for an additional 30 days, through March 11, 2012. Additionally by this Order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection at the 21 remaining communities for 30 days, through, March 11, 2012.

By: Todd Homan


 

Order 2012-2-19
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault St. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served February 23, 2012

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this Order, the Department extends the Essential Air Service obligation of SkyWest Airlines, Inc. d/b/a Delta Connection at Butte, Montana, for an additional 30 days, through April 10, 2012. Additionally by this Order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection at the 21 remaining communities for 30 days, through, April 10, 2012.

By: Todd Homan


 

Order 2012-3-15
OST-2000-7856 - Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2003-15128 - Escanaba, MI
OST-1999-5175 - Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI
OST-2011-0133 - Pellston, MI
OST-2009-0303 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-2008-0209 - Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 - Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 - Tupelo, MS
OST-2011-0136 - Butte, MT
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served March 23, 2012

Order Extending Service Obligation

By this Order, we extend the EAS obligation of the two wholly owned subsidiaries of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation -- Mesaba Aviation, Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Delta Connection at the 20 remaining communities for 30 days, through, May 10, 2012.

By: Susan Kurland


 

Order 2012-10-8
OST-2001-10682 - Mason City, IA
OST-2001-10684 - Fort Dodge, IA
OST-2011-0131 - Sioux City, IA
OST-2011-0132 - Waterloo, IA
OST-2011-0134 - Bemidji, MN
OST-2011-0135 - Brainerd, MN
OST-2003-15796 - Chisholm/Hibbing, MN
OST-2009-0304 - International Falls, MN
OST-2001-10642 - Thief River Falls, MN
OST-1997-2785 - Devils Lake/Jamestown, ND
OST-2011-0137 - Aberdeen, SD
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre, SD
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown, SD

Issued and Served October 4, 2012

Order Setting Final Rates

We set the final rates for Delta Air Lines, Inc., for meeting its obligation to provide EAS at Fort Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City and Waterloo, Iowa; Bemidji, Brainerd, Chisholm/Hibbing, International Falls and Thief River Falls, Minnesota; Devils Lake and Jamestown, North Dakota; and Aberdeen, Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota, as described in Appendices B, C and D.

These rates are in lieu of, and not in addition to, those set by Orders 2009-8-6, 2009-8-8, 2010-5-18, 2010-12-9, 2011-6-6 and 2011-6-7 and 2012-9-11.

By: Susan Kurland


 

January 16, 2014

Comments of City of Pierre in Opposition to Great Lakes Aviation

I am writing to urge your action with respect to the failure of Great Lakes Aviation to provide an adequate level of essential air service to Pierre, the capital of South Dakota. Even at the low frequency the carrier is now operating, its service is so unreliable that, quite simply, it is killing the air service market at our city. I am asking for your assistance to remedy this situation. which may include a new commercial air carrier and eligibility for the essential air service funding in Pierre.

While Pierre has thus far not required subsidy, the last two months have seen such a shrinkage in its air service market that it will be difficult to rebuild sufficient confidence in air service to ensure a self-sufficient air service market.

We have reluctantly concluded that the only thing that will salvage our air service market is for the Department to declare that the service being provided by Great Lakes does not meet the requirements of Essential Air Service, and open a proceeding for bids to provide this service. If this can be done without subsidy, all the better; however, given the rapidity of the market's deterioration, quick action must be taken or the Department will not be able to avoid paying subsidy for service to Pierre.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill

 

January 17, 2014

Support Letter of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)

It is my understanding that some of the service difficulties experienced by regional carriers like Great Lakes Airlines arc being exacerbated by pilot shortfalls caused by larger carriers hiring away veteran regional pilots. Accordingly, I would encourage the Department of Transportation to explore any options to help address pilot shortfalls that may impact regional air carriers that provide service to communities like Pierre.

By: Tim Johnson


 

May 30, 2014

DOT Letter to Mayor of City of Pierre

We are aware of Great Lakes' operational problems that have been caused by a lack of pilots due in part to recent statutory and regulatory changes involving pilot training requirements and the carrier's implementation of the changes. You are right that Great Lakes' service problems are, not limited to Pierre; rather, the carrier's service has suffered system-wide.

In response to the severe pilot shortage, which is not limited to Great Lakes, the carrier has taken some rather drastic measures. DUling the first quarter of 2014, it suspended or terminated service at 13 subsidized EAS communities and an additional number of non-EAS communities. In addition, as of April 1, Great Lakes began to operate Beech 1900 aircraft that have been reconfigured for 9 seats in order to more effectively utilize the pilots it has on staff. The reconfigured aircraft are intended to more quickly utilize new pilots that it has hired as a result of the increased attrition that hampered its ability to operate a full schedule in the first quarter of 2014. Great Lakes has indicated to us that it is working well and the carrier has expanded the reconfiguration to more aircraft in its fleet.

I, along with the EAS program staff, met with Great Lakes in Washington, DC in late March in an attempt to gather more information on their current operations and what the carrier intends to do moving forward to improve its operation.

The Department will be monitoring Great Lakes' service over the next few weeks and if we do not see improvement, we will consider taking steps that may be necessary to ameliorate the effects of their service reductions, cancellations, and hardship on the community, including the possibility of issuing a Request for Proposals as you recommend.

By: Susan Kurland




May 30, 2014

DOT Letter to Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Thank you for your recent letter regarding Great Lakes Aviation's service at Pierre. In the letter, you stated that the Mayor of Pierre contacted you to raise concern with Great Lakes' deteriorating air service and the difficulties it has caused for travelers, businesses and the state and federal employees using Pierre Regional Airport. Enclosed, please find a copy of the letter we sent to Mayor Laurie Gill addressing these issues.

By: Todd Homan


 

July 23, 2014

Request of City of Pierre for Subsidized Essential Air Service

As my prior letter noted, and your letter recognized, the air service situation at Pierre has gone from bad to worse, and the situation continues to deteriorate. We realize that this is at least in part due to the effects of the FAA's rule amendments which have dramatically cut the active crews available to Great Lakes Aviation , and over which the carrier has no control. Whatever the reason, however, the fact is that air service at the capital of South Dakota has been severely harmed by the grossly inadequate service that has been provided by Great Lakes. This is already being translated into a negative impact on the community's economic development and the ability of state, federal and tribal officials to conduct official business.

Simply put, the experiment with Great Lakes has not worked. Passenger enplanements for the first five months of 2014 are only 3447. At this rate, PIR will not even reach the critical benchmark of 10,000 passengers, the lowest level that will have been experienced in over 35 years. The consequences are not purely statistical: This is the FAA's "primary airport" threshold level that will trigger the loss of $850,000 in essential AIP grants, and also impact discretionary funding from state sources. (PIR has enjoyed "primary airport" status for over 30 years.) This will have immediate effects on the operation and improvement of the airport.

As mayor of Pierre, I am constantly asked about our air service situation, and there is little I can tell my residents. While I have been patient in giving Great Lakes time to do whatever is necessary to improve its service, we may be rapidly approaching a point of no return.

Accordingly, I must now ask you to issue, without delay, a Request for Proposals for subsidized Essential Air Service, at an acceptable level of capacity, frequency and reliability, so that we can reverse the downward trend we are continuing to experience. We will be happy to support our assertions with further evidence and expressions of support from our community and its representatives.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill


 

Order 2014-9-10
OST-2011-0138

Issued and Served September 15, 2014

Order Requesting Proposals

By this Order, the Department is requesting proposals from air carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service at Pierre, South Dakota, with or without subsidy support, beginning as soon as possible. Proposals are due October 15, 2014.

Specifically, we request proposals to a major hub airport such as Denver or Minneapolis/St. Paul that will provide good access to the national air transportation system. Regarding capacity and frequency levels, for proposals with 34-seat or larger aircraft, we expect 12 round trips a week; for service with 30-seat aircraft, we expect 18 round trips a week; and if 19-seat aircraft are proposed, we expect 24 round trips per week. Alternatively, we will accept proposals consisting of additional frequencies if smaller aircraft (9-passenger) are contemplated.

In the most recent 12-month period for which data are available (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014), Pierre generated a total of 23,461 total origin and destination passengers, or an average of 37.5 enplanements per day. We note that this represents a marked decrease for the first and second quarter of 2014, compared to previous years.

By: Susan Kurland


 

October 15, 2014

Proposal of Aerodynamics

Service Option 1
24 weekly frequencies between Pierre and Denver
Equipment: ERJ
Subsidy Required: $4,644,030

Service Option 2
24 weekly frequencies between Pierre and Denver one-stop via Scottsbluff
Equipment: ERJ
Subsidy Required: $2,048,076

Service Option 3
24 weekly frequencies between Pierre and Denver
Equipment: ERJ
Subsidy Required: $3,913,626

By: Scott Beale




October 15, 2014

Proposal of Boutique Air

Our proposal would be flown in nine-seat, modern, pressurized Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. The term is two years. Our proposal is for total of 36 round trips from PIR; 18 round trips to DEN (3 round trips per weekday) and 18 round trips to MSP (an additional 3 round trips per weekday). We plan to fly one round trip to each hub on Saturday and two round trips to each hub on Sunday. If demand is stronger for a different weekend schedule then we may modify the distribution of flights accordingly.

While current traffic shows two-thirds of passengers are outbound to DEN, in the past there has been higher demand for MSP. Therefore, we reserve the right to move up to six frequencies per week from either hub to the other hub in order to best meet the demands of the community.

By: Shawn Simpson




October 15, 2014

Proposal of Great Lakes Aviation

Great Lakes provides three round trips of non-stop service to Denver daily. The service is provided utilizing Embraer 30 passenger EMB-120's twice daily and a Beech 1900-D, with nine passenger seats installed, scheduled once daily non-stop to Denver for a total of 69 seats daily. Our proposal contained herein, provides the requested increase in available seats by replacing the non-stop nine seat Beech 1900-D with 30 passenger EMB-120.

The removal of 10 seats from the Beech 1900-D's was a direct result of relatively new Congressionally mandated changes to pilot hiring requirements for FAR part 121 scheduled operations. Despite frequent efforts by the airline industry to inform Congress of the small community air service crisis that is now becoming a reality, versus speculation, there has been no industry relief granted to date.

As an alternative to the subsidization of the 30 Seat aircraft, the company would be prepared to eliminate the subsidy requirement when the 10 seats can be reinstalled in our Beech 1900-D fleet. The reinstallation of the seats would provide an additional 30 seats available per day to the current schedule at no cost to the Taxpayer.

Our proposal contemplates conveniently timed connecting services to our Denver hub, whereby passengers may utilize our code-share agreement with United Airlines.

By: Michael Matthews, 307-432-7000





October 16, 2014

DOT Request for Community Comments

We issued Order 2014-9-10 requesting proposals from airlines interested in providing EAS. In response to our request, we received three proposals: Great Lakes Aviation, Boutique Air and Aerodynamics, Inc. request that you review the proposals and submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, November 17, 2014.

By: Michael Gormans, 202-366-1853


 

December 20, 2014

Re: Mark Zickrick in Support of Great Lakes Aviation's Proposal

 

November 26, 2014

City of Pierre in Support of Aerodynamics

After careful consideration, the City Commission voted unanimously to recommend ADI - Option 2 with one-stop service in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. While ADI is essentially unproven in Part 121 scheduled air service, we fully believe they have the ability to provide reliable scheduled air service based upon their proposed business plan and responses to the interview questions.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill


 

January 29, 2015

Request of City of Pierre for Extension

As you know ADI announced this week that they now have a new CEO, F. Darrell Richardson to replace Scott Beale. In addition, ADI indicated that they plan to appeal the Order to Show Cause.

Given these new developments, the City of Pierre Commission voted this week to request an extension to submit comments until Feb 28, 2015 or until U5 DOT completes its review of the impact of the new CEO for ADI or any additional information that may be submitted by ADI as a part of their appeal process.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill


 

February 24, 2015

Request of City of Pierre for Extension of Comment Period

The City of Pierre respectfully requests an additional time extension regarding an Essential Air Service recommendation due to the recent air carrier fitness developments of Aerodynamics Incorporated. The City of Pierre supports the US DOT Air Carrier Fitness Division's review process and will await a final determination before making a recommendation. Please allow the City of Pierre two weeks to respond after ADl's fitness determination has been finalized. This will allow City Officials to assess the available options for the recommendation.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill


 

February 10, 2016

Re: Essential Air Service to Pierre, SD

This is a letter of recommendation from the City of Pierre, South Dakota, to request new proposals for Essential Air Service. On Tuesday February gth, 2016 the Pierre City Commission voted to reject bids proposed in October 2014 and request new proposals.

US DOT's fitness approval for Aerodynamics Incorporated, while very good news, took approximately a year. We understand there have been many organizational changes in ADI in addition to several changes within the aviation industry in the past 16 months. For these reasons we believe this decision is advantageous for the City and all interested airlines.

Time is of the essence for this request. It is our desire to review new requests for proposals by the end of February. Pierre's air service continues to decline at an alarming rate. As you know Pierre's enplanements fell below 10,000 passengers in 2014 and will again in 2015, reducing federal entitlement funding from $1,000,000 to $150,000 per year. The impact to Pierre's businesses and the Capital of South Dakota has been debilitating; restoring air service is critical in maintaining a viable, growing city.

By: Laurie Gill, Mayor


 

Order 2016-2-21
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

Issued and Served February 26, 2016

Order Rejecting and Resoliciting Proposals

By this Order, the Department is re-soliciting proposals from carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service at Pierre and/or Watertown, South Dakota. Carriers should file their proposals no later than March 29, 2016.

Each proposal, in its current form, is not selectable. Community Air does not hold the requisite authority to operate the service it has proposed. Boutique Air proposed operations with single-engine aircraft, and neither community indicated its willingness to waiver its right to service provided with 2-engine, 2-pilot aircraft. As of the date of this Order, ADI does not have hold the complete requisite authority, although it is working towards fulfilling its obligations under the terms of its tentative Order finding the carrier fit. As discussed earlier, Great Lakes’ service at both communities has been unreliable, and, the carrier did not have any community support.

After careful consideration of each carrier’s proposal and after reviewing feedback from the communities, the Department finds that Pierre and Watertown have made persuasive arguments that the Department should re-solicit proposals for EAS at both communities and will accede to their wishes.

By: Brandon Belford




OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

March 30, 2016

DOT Request for Community Comments

We issued Order 2016-2-21 (February 26, 2016), requesting proposals from airlines interested in providing EAS. In response to our request, we received proposals from Aerodynamics, Inc., Boutique Air, Great Lakes Airlines and Key Lime Air. I request that you review the proposals and submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

By: Michael Gormas, 202-366-1853


 

March 29, 2016

Proposal of Aerodynamics

Option 1:

24 weekly nonstop Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: Embraer 145
Subsidy required: $4,524,131

Option 2:

24 weekly one-stop Watertown-Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: Embraer 145
Subsidy required: $2,268,256

Please note that this bid is contingent on ADI also being awarded the Essential Air Service contract for service to at least two of the pool of seven communities consisting of Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Dodge City and Liberal, Kansas along with Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota. Option 2 of this proposal is contingent upon the additional selection of Option 1 but Option 1 IS NOT contingent upon the additional selection of Option 2.

By: Aerodynamics, Mickey Bowman, 678-872-2737




March 29, 2016

Proposal of Boutique Air

Option 1:

30 nonstop weekly Pierre-Denver/Minneapolis (3/2 daily roundtrips)
Aircraft: King Air 350
Subsidy required: $4,993,301

Option 2:

36 nonstop weekly Pierre-Denver/Minneapolis (3/3 daily roundtrips)
Aircraft: King Air 350
Subsidy required: $5,798,498

By: Boutique Air, Shawn Simpson




March 29, 2016

Proposal of Great Lakes Aviation

2 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: Brasilia EMB-120
Subsidy required: $2,267,308

By: Great Lakes, Charles Howell, 307-432-7000




March 29, 2016

Proposal of Key Lime Air

13 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: Dornier 328 Jet
Subsidy required: $3,343,141

By: Key Lime Air, Marc Hesting, 303-768-9626


 

April 27, 2016

City of Pierre in Support of Aerodynamics

On Monday April 25, 2016 the Pierre City Commission held a special meeting and voted unanimously to recommend ADI. While ADl's proposal is not the lowest bid, the commission believes the ADI proposal offers the best opportunity to restore reliable air service at Pierre Regional Airport. The City acknowledge there are risks involved in selecting a scheduled air carrier with no commercial air service history. However, it is reassuring that US-DOT and FAA have approved ADl's Part 121operating certificate.

Pierre Regional Airport has a long history with Great Lakes Aviation. We regret that in recent years the reliability of the air service has substantially declined causing enplanements to suffer. During the interview process, Great Lakes did offer strategies to bolster its reliability. Ultimately, the Commission determined those strategies to be insufficient.

The Commission was pleased with the excellent service record of both Boutique Air and Key Lime Air. However, the Commission expressed concern that their lack of interline or codeshare agreements will cause connectivity problems with mainline carriers.

By: Mayor Laurie Gill


 

Order 2016-6-2
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

Issued and Served June 2, 2016

Order Selecting Air Carrier

By this Order, the Department is selecting Aerodynamics, Inc. to provide Essential Air Service, at Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota, for the two-year term from August 1, 2016, through July 31, 2018, for annual subsidies of $4,524,131 and $2,268,256, respectively, operating 12 weekly nonstop and one-stop round trips to/from Denver International Airport, with 50-passenger Embraer regional jet aircraft.

By: Jenny Rosenberg


 

Order 2018-1-11
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

Issued and Served January 18, 2018

Order Requesting Proposals

By this Order, the United States Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals from air carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service at Pierre and/or Watertown, South Dakota, for a new contract term, beginning August 1, 2018, with or without subsidy. Air carriers should file their proposals no later than February 20, 2018.

The Department expects proposals that are consistent with what the communities currently receive, namely, 12 weekly round trips at each community with service to a suitable large or medium hub airport, that provides numerous connecting opportunities to the national air transportation system. Proposals that contemplate service with small aircraft (8 to 9-seats) may include additional frequencies.

By: Todd Homan


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

February 15, 2018

Request of Aerodynamics for Submission Deadline Extension

Aerodynamics, Inc. respectfully requests an extension of the submission deadline date of February 20, 2018, as set by the Department of Transportation in its’ solicitation of carrier proposals in the above mentioned cities, to on or about March 14, 2018. Aerodynamics, Inc. is in the midst of being acquired. This process is expected to close on or about March 1, 2018. The prospective new owners of ADI have asked for time to review any such contract proposals after that date. As such ADI formally requests the deadline of submission be extended. As the incumbent carrier in this case, I have reached out to the Airport Directors at both airports and they have expressed no issue with this requested postponement. Aerodynamics feels this extension will allow time for this process to be resolved and will not adversely affect the bid/award process and will allow for a timely selection of a carrier for the next service period that commences August 1, 2018.

By: Mickey Bowman


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown


March 14, 2018

Proposal of Aerodynamics

Option 1:

24 weekly Pierre-Denver / 24 weekly Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: ERJ-145
Subisdy required: $4,651,586 (Pierre); $2,406,155 (Watertown)

Option 2:

24 weekly Pierre-Denver / 14 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis / 12 weekly Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: ERJ-145
Subisdy required: $4,638,832 (Pierre); $3,522,614 (Watertown)

Option 3:

24 weekly Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: ERJ-145
Subisdy required: $5,251,218

By: Mickey Bowman




March 14, 2018

Proposal of Boutique Air - Pierre

Option 1:

30 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $5,449,420 (PC-12) / $5,967,810 (King Air)

Option 2:

30 weekly Pierre-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $4,939,549 (PC-12) / $5,524,926 (King Air)

Opton 3:

36 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: PC-12
Subsidy required: $6,567,576

Option 4:

36 weekly Pierre-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12
Subsidy required: $5,980,931

Option 5:

12 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: ERJ-145
Subsidy required: $4,981,240

By: Shawn Simpson




March 14, 2018

Proposal of Boutique Air - Watertown

Option 1:

30 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $3,414,920 (PC-12 Year 1); $3,500,293 (PC-12 Year 2) / $4,338,356 (King Air Year 1); $4,446,814 (King Air Year 2)

Option 2:

36 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $4,131,997 (PC-12 Year 1); $4,235,296 (PC-12 Year 2) / $5,022,107 (King Air Year 1); $5,147,659 (King Air Year 2)

Option 3:

30 weekly Watertown-Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: ERJ-145
Subsidy required: $7,958,602 (Year 1); $8,157,567 (Year 2)

By: Shawn Simpson




March 14, 2018

Proposal of Great Lakes Aviation

Option 1:

Two roundtrip Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: EMB-120
Subsidy required: $2,989,864

Option 2:

Three roundtrip Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: EMB-120
Subsidy required: $3,956,722

By: Phil Lundeen, 307-432-7000





March 15, 2018

DOT Request for Community Comments

We issued Order 2018-1-11 requesting proposals from airlines interested in providing EAS, with a due date of February 20, 2018, and later extended to March 14, 2018. In response to our request, we received proposals from Boutique Air, Great Lakes Aviation, and Aerodynamics dba SkyValue Airways. I request that you review them and submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, April 16, 2018.

By: Michael Gormas, 202-366-1853


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

March 30, 20189

Statement of Aerodynamics on Recent Developments with Great Lakes Airlines - Press Release

Since service commenced on August 15, 2016, all ADI flights linking these cities with Denver have been sold and distributed under an agreement with Great Lakes Airlines whereby all ADI flights carry the Great Lakes Airline code (ZK) and are identified in the Global Distribution System and Online Travel Agencies as Great Lakes Airlines flights. Additionally, ADI flights are handled by Great Lakes Airlines staff in both Denver and Pierre. This past Monday evening March 26th. Great Lakes Airlines announced it would be ceasing the flights that they themselves operated. This action DID NOT include the regional jet flights operated by ADI. All ADI flights remain in operation and remain listed under our Great Lakes Airlines codeshare.

As the direct result of this action, however, the three largest legacy air carriers, American, Delta and United, moved to cancel their interline agreements with Great Lakes Airlines. Those agreements allowed for single ticket connections and the automatic transfer of bags between air carriers. As a result of this action, ADI will no longer be able to offer through ticketing or through baggage transfer. ADI is working to try and establish its own agreements with these major carriers, but that may take some time and is not assured. In the meantime, passengers wishing to utilize the ADI service for a connecting flight will need to purchase two tickets, one for the ADI segments and another for the connecting carrier. Passengers should not plan on their bags being automatically transferred at Denver.

By: ADI


 

April 12, 2018

City of Pierre in Support of Aerodynamics

The Pierre City Commission is pleased to recommend Aerodynamics Inc. for Pierre's Essential Air Service contract. On April 10, 2018, the Pierre City Commission took official action to recommend ADl's Option 2 Proposal with a reverse schedule.

As you are aware, Option 2 offers two flights to Denver and one flight to Minneapolis five days a week, with one flight on the remaining two days. ADI offered a reverse schedule of Option 2, and the City Commission is recommending that option. It allows for two flights to Minneapolis and one flight to Denver five days a week, with one flight on the remaining two days

By: Mayor Steve Harding


 

May 2, 2018

City of Pierre in Support of Aerodynamics Option 1

The City of Pierre was recently informed that Aerodynamics Inc. has withdrawn Option 2 from its Essential Air Service contract proposal. Consequently, the Pierre City Commission has revised its recommendation for the EAS contract.

Because the City's previous recommendation of ADI Option 2 with a reverse schedule is no longer available, the City is now recommending ADI Option 1; Option 1 continues our current service with 12 round trips weekly to Denver. While the community is certainly disappointed to lose the Minneapolis option, Pierre is pleased with the reliable jet service ADI has provided throughout its current contract.

By: Mayor Steve Harding


 

Order 2018-5-39
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

Issued and Served May 29, 2018

Order Re-Selecting Air Carrier

By this Order, the United States Department of Transportation is re-selecting Aerodynamics to provide Essential Air Service at Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota, for 12 weekly nonstop and one-stop round trips, at a combined annual subsidy of $7,057,741 ($4,651,586 for Pierre and $2,406,155 for Watertown), from August 1, 2018, through July 31, 2020.2 ADI will continue using 50-seat Embraer 145 regional jet aircraft.

By: Joel Szabat


 

December 21, 2018 | Revised December 27, 2018

Opposition of Cities of Pierre and Watertown to California Pacific Airlines

While we understand many small airlines can experience operational challenges, it has become evident that the new management's focus on the California flying has directly impacted the service at Pierre and Watertown and has resulted in significant delays and cancellations. The split operations more than 1000 miles apart has meant virtually no spare aircraft coverage for our communities and multiple aircraft out for heavy maintenance has led to numerous days without an aircraft to operate our schedule.

While we understand that the US DOT typically gives airlines the benefit of the doubt in terms of poor operations or financial problems, both Pierre and Watertown have worked too hard and spent too much time and money overcoming problems with the last air carrier to wait for 90 or 180 days of poor operations before a solution can be found. We request the US DOT to work with CPA to resolve both its operational and financial issues within the next 30 days, and if the airline cannot perform as a reliable air carrier (at the 97% in their EAS bid) and meet its financial obligations, that the US DOT re-issue an RFP so that Pierre and Watertown can find a carrier that can.

By: Watertown Mayor Sarah Caron / Pierre Mayor Steve Harding


 

OST-2001-10644 - Watertown
OST-2011-0138 - Pierre

December 27, 2018

Notice of California Pacific Airlines

California Pacific Airlines has moved to temporarily suspend its California operations and dedicate its resources to supporting the Essential Air Service serving the Pierre and Watertown communities.

As a commitment to ensure that the service is returned to the level of dependability the communities have grown to expect, California Pacific Airlines has committed to keeping its focus on their EAS contract. We will resume the California operation when it can efficiently do so without causing any service degradation to the Pierre/Watertown EAS.

By: Fernando Pineda

 

January 10, 2019

Request of Cities of Pierre and Watertown for Emergency Request for Proposals

We are regretfully writing to you today to update the US DOT on our Essential Air Service carrier . In our letter to the US DOT in December, the communities requested the US DOT to work with California Pacific Airlines to fix the operational and financial issues within 30 days. It has become obvious that the financial situation at CP Air has continued to worsen in January, and we no longer can wait for those 30 days to determine next steps.

Approximately 2 weeks ago, Watertown and Pierre began dealing with an outside investor for CP Air that started to rectify some past due bills, but most importantly was paying for several day-to-day functions such as purchasing of fuel on his credit card. Due to CP Air's lack of payments to vendors, most vendors are now requiring payment at time of services rendered. Watertown and Pierre were notified this morning that the investor is no longer purchasing fuel for flights at Watertown and Pierre. With the inability for CP Air to consistently purchase fuel, many flights have been cancelled and we have minimal expectations that CP Air will be able to continue service at Watertown or Pierre.

We formally request the US DOT to issue an Emergency Request for Proposal for Essential Air Service at both Watertown and Pierre as expeditiously as possible, so that we can find a carrier that can operate at both communities and provide the Essential Air Service that both communities rely upon.

By: Mayors Sarah Caron (Watertown) and Steve Harding (Pierre)


 

Order 2019-1-2
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

Issued and Served January 15, 2019

Order Requesting Proposals

By this Order, the US Department of Transportation is requesting proposals, with or without subsidy, from carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service at Pierre and/or Watertown, South Dakota. Proposals are due by February 13, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The Department expects proposals for service similar to what the communities currently receive, namely, 12 round trips a week to a suitable large- or medium-hub airport using 50-seat aircraft providing numerous connecting opportunities to the national air transportation system. If smaller aircraft are contemplated, additional frequencies may be considered. Carriers should be very clear as to whether a specific community’s proposal is on a stand-alone basis, or whether it is a two-city, inseparable package.

By: Todd Homan


 

January 16, 2019

Ex-Parte Letter to Mayors of Pierre and Watertown, SD

By: Joel Szabat


 

January 18, 2019

Extension of Proposal Due Date

Yesterday, on January 17, California Pacific Airlines, the carrier recently providing Essential Air Service at Pierre and Watertown notified the Department via email that it can no longer support its EAS operations at the two communities. Thus, both communities currently have no scheduled air service, and there is no information indicating that it will resume.

Given the circumstances, and both communities’ expressed desire to find a replacement carrier as soon as possible, the Department is moving the due date for proposals to Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

By: Kevin Schlemmer


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

January 29, 2019

Service Update of California Pacific Airlines

California Pacific Airlines continues internal reorganization efforts in the interest of restarting operations. The relaunch is panned to be limited to Supplemental operations as well as scheduled service with a Carlsbad, California hub. The restart will be staffed with essential personnel only with the intent of organically growing the company over time in the interest of financial and operational stability. For that reason, the company will not be able to complete the Essential Air Service contract serving the cities of Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota, as part of the relaunch.

In a company meeting earlier this morning, President and CEO, Theodore Vallas reported that the company is finalizing arrangements in the purchasing of two aircraft. Mr. Vallas also indicated that the company intends to recall employees soon.

As we proceed with the planned of relaunch, I will communicate with the DOT to ensure we meet economic authority requirements. We will also work with our FAA Certificate Management Office inspectors to ensure we meet operational/safety requirements in support of the relaunch.

By: Fernando Pineda


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown


January 15, 2019

Proposals of Denver Air Connection

Option 1:

48 weekly Pierre-Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: Dornier 328 Jet
Subsidy required: $3,791,177

Option 2:

24 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: Dornier 328 Jet
Subsidy required: $1,874,586

Option 3:

24 weekly Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: Dornier 328 Jet
Subsidy required: $2,579,664

By: Cliff Honneycutt, 303-768-9626




January 29, 2019

Proposals of SkyWest Airlines

Pierre:

12 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: CRJ-200
Subsidy required: $3,638,439

Watertown:

12 weekly Watertown-Denver
Aircraft: CRJ-200
Subsidy required: $3,244,118

By: Greg Atkin




January 30, 2019

Proposal of Air Choice One - Watertown

24 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: Beechcraft 1900C
Subsidy required: $3,592,667

By: Darnea Wood, 314-843-8501 x1007




January 30, 2019

Proposal of Boutique Air - Pierre

Option 1:

30 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air
Subsidy required: $5,566,949 (PC-12) / $5,998,979 (King Air)

Option 2:

30 weekly Pierre-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air
Subsidy required: $5,057,078 (PC-12) / $5,616,443 (King Air)

Option 3:

36 weekly Pierre-Denver
Aircraft: PC-12
Subsidy required: $6,598,917

Option 4:

36 weekly Pierre-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12
Subsidy required: $6,012,272

By: Shawn Simpson




January 30, 2019

Proposal of Boutique Air - Watertown

Option 1:

30 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $3,613,951 (PC-12 Year 1); $3,704,299 (PC-12 Year 2) / $4,505,152 (King Air Year 1); $4,617,780 (King Air Year 2)

Option 2:

36 weekly Watertown-Minneapolis
Aircraft: PC-12 / King Air 350
Subsidy required: $4,244,137 (PC-12 Year 1); $4,350,240 (PC-12 Year 2) / $5,231,359 (King Air Year 1); $5,362,142 (King Air Year 2)

By: Shawn Simpson


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

January 31, 2019

DOT Request for Community Comments

We issued Order 2019-1-2, requesting proposals from airlines interested in providing EAS, with an original due date of February 13, 2019, and subsequently shortened to January 30, 2019, per the communities’ request. In response to our request, we received proposals from Air Choice One (Watertown only), Boutique Air, Key Lime Air and SkyWest Airlines. I request that you review it and submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but no later Friday, February 8, 2019.

By: Michael Gormas, 202-366-1853


 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

February 6, 2019

Cities of Pierre and Watertown in Support of SkyWest Airlines

Both communities spent a significant amount of time reviewing the pros and cons of each proposal and our unanimous decision by both the Watertown City Council and Pierre City Commission is to support SkyWest Airline's proposal to provide EAS service utilizing 50-seat CRJ-200 operating as United Express to Denver International Airport.

The decision to support SkyWest does not come about lightly, as both of our communities had significant problems with both of the last two airlines to serve our markets, and we do not want to have a repeat of those issues. SkyWest has been a leading EAS carrier for decades, offering reliable air service operating as a United Express carrier, offering codeshare relationships with numerous worldwide partners and literally hundreds of interline agreements with airlines around the world , and a commitment to start service in April 2019.

By: Mayors Steve Harding (Pierre) and Sarah Caron (Watertown)

 

OST-2011-0138 - Pierre
OST-2001-10644 - Watertown

February 8, 2019

Response of Key Lime Air

Although we are disappointed to learn that both cities have recommended SkyWest, we are not surprised. SkyWest is indeed a world class carrier whose ability to perform is without question. However, as exhibited in these proposals, their service comes at a significant monetary cost – a factor which neither community appears to have considered. We believe that after a more thorough evaluation of the costs and benefits of each proposal, our bid to provide each community their own dedicated aircraft, crew, and 12 non-stop round trips into Denver clearly represents the best value and certainly the most beneficial to both Pierre and Watertown.

While our proposals are very competitive, they are also predicated on current real time cost data obtained through our 4th year of continued operations in similar communities and actual revenue data from Pierre and Watertown’s recent commercial enplanement activity. Our proposals make it incumbent on us to improve the bottom line through our own safe, reliable and sustainable air service – it is not our intent to expand and grow our operation at the cost of the taxpayer.

In summary, we believe that Key Lime Air is providing exactly what the EAS program was designed to provide: dependable access to the National Air Transportation System at a competitive cost to the citizens of the United States. Although I assume it is unusual to select a carrier contrary a community’s choice, we feel it would have been a very different process had Pierre or Watertown had any fiscal responsibility to their recommendation. Therefore, we are asking the Department to exercise this responsibility and vet our proposals and ability to service these communities to their full expectation.

By: Cliff Honeycutt

 

OST-2001-10644 - Watertown
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre


February 7, 2019

Sheridan County Commission in Support of Key Lime Air d/b/a Denver Connection

On behalf of the Sheridan County Board of County Commissioners it is with great confidence and pleasure we offer this letter ofrecommendation for Key Lime Air, doing business as Denver Air Connection.

Sheridan County lost commercial air service in March of 2015 when Great Lake Airlines left our market. As a result, Sheridan County began negotiations with DAC, and subsequently finalized a contract in November of 2015 securing round-trip flights from Sheridan to Denver. DAC began service in Sheridan flying a Dornier 328jet operating under a 380-charter service. Since then, the Dornier 328jet has been added to their 121 certificate, and recently an Interline Agreement with United Airlines was approved.

We have the utmost respect and confidence in DAC and would highly recommend them.

By: Tom Ringley




February 8, 2019

Sheridan County Airport in Support of Key Lime Air d/b/a Denver Connection

Please accept this letter expressing our support of Key Lime Air dba Denver Air Connection for consideration in their efforts to provide commercial air service under the Essential Air Service program.

During my tenure at the Sheridan County Airport (42+) years I have never had the pleas ure to work with an airline and upper management that has given over 100 percent of their time and resources to deliver such an outstanding product. It is refreshing to be able to meet and discuss the service with the principals of Key Lime Air. They have operated well beyond our expec tations to consistently bring us the type of air service that our community required and wanted.

This isn't just a working relation ship we have built with Key Lime Air; we have forged a true PARTNERSHIP where all parties work toget her towards the common goal, to bring safe, reliable and professional air service to our community. Therefore, if a community is looking for a partner to provide reliable, consistent air service coupled with exceptiona l customer service and a management team that is approachable, trustworthy, straightfor ward, and accessible then Key Lime Air is the company that must be considered.

By: John Stopka




February 11, 2019

Riverton Regional Airport in Support of Key Lime Air d/b/a Denver Connection

Key Lime Air, doing business as Denver Air Connection, began service to Riverton Regional Airport on July 1, 2016. It operates two daily round trip flights to Denver International Airport on a tagged route with Sheridan County Airport. To date, Key Lime Air has provided Fremont County, Wyoming with high levels of customer service, on-time performance, and reliability. It has made a significant difference in returning market confidence to the commercial passenger flyers who travel to and from our community.

Key Lime Air has been a positive air service provider to our community. It has worked diligently with community stakeholders to ensure it meets the needs of commercial passenger flyers and responsibly utilize public funds secured to support its business venture.

By: Kyle Butterfield




February 11, 2019

Telluride Regional Airport in Support of Key Lime Air d/b/a Denver Connection

I have had the opportunity to work with Key Lime owners Cliff Honeycutt, Glen Rich and Wade Goetz since 1993 when I started my career at Centennial Airport. During my career in Airport Management I have had the pleasure of witnessing growth of a Part 135 operator dominating feeder cargo operations at Denver International Airport DEN and today implementation of passenger air service as Denver Air Connection.

I have been so impressed with DAC that when I arrived at Telluride Regional Airport in 2017 I began discussing Air Service with the DAC/Key Lime team. The Telluride community is delighted to announce daily service into TEX in May 2019.

By: Kenneth Maenpa


 

Order 2019-2-12
OST-2001-10644
- Watertown
OST-2011-0138
- Pierre

Issued and Served February 12, 2019

Order Selecting Air Carrier

By this Order, the US Department of Transportation is selecting SkyWest Airlines, Inc. to provide Essential Air Service at Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota, with 12 weekly round trips from each community to Denver International Airport, at a combined annual subsidy of $6,882,557 ($3,638,439 for Pierre and $3,244,118 for Watertown), from February 13, 2019, through April 30, 2021.2 SkyWest will operate under the United Express brand and will use 50-seat Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet aircraft.

By: Joel Szabat

 


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