Airport may not hit goal of 10,000The Dickinson Airport may not hit one of its major goals this year, thanks to severe weather.
By: By John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson Airport may not hit one of its major goals this year, thanks to severe weather.
The magic number, 10,000 passengers, is the Dickinson Airport Board’s goal, and despite an increase in January boardings over last year, canceled flights caused a decrease compared to last year in February, March and April.
“I just have this gut feeling ... we’re at the tipping point, we either get back on track or we’re cooked,” Airport Board Vice Chairman Bob Zent said at a Tuesday meeting at the airport. “We got to get ahead of last year, we can’t just catch up.”
If an airport reaches 10,000 boardings the federal government awards it with $1 million in additional funds, which can be used for improvement projects.
Canceled flights in late March and early April resulted in a 30 passenger net loss in boardings.
Board member Craig Steve said the entire business travel market is in a downturn, but that doesn’t mean 10,000 boardings is impossible, especially with specials offered by travel agencies and airlines.
Board members need to talk to Great Lakes Airlines’ CEO Doug Voss about adjusting rates on Dickinson to Sidney, Mont. flights, said board President Jon Frantsvog, adding the flights are far from full, and customers need an incentive to fly to Sidney.
“It’s a flight that he’s running a nearly empty aircraft,” Frantsvog said. “Sell the flight that you don’t fill anyway dirt cheap.”
Board members discussed helping decrease rates on charter flights with Dickinson Air Service, but board member Tom Reichert said before they do that it’s important to find out if 10,000 boardings is attainable.
“If we’re iffy, it’s harder to spend the money,” Reichert said. “You hate to spend $20,000 or $30,000 on supplementing flights to get numbers and still fall short.”
Board members also discussed how a potential change from Mountain to Central Time would affect the airport.
(Dickinson Commissioner Shirley Dukart plans to start a petition for the change.)
Airport Manager Matthew Remynse said Budget Rent-A-Car representatives have expressed opposition to the move and added he doesn’t believe Great Lakes would change its flight times to adjust. He said he would research and discuss the possible change with Great Lakes.
Remynse also updated the board on his application for the Minot Airport manager position, saying that he will know by the end of the month whether or not he was chosen for the position and will leave his post at the Dickinson Airport.