Taking flight: Dickinson airport's third flight lifts off
Dickinson's third flight kicked off Thursday without a hitch. "I think today went smoothly," said Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport Manager Matt Remynse. "It was a light load." He said since February is historically a slow month, it i...
Dickinson's third flight kicked off Thursday without a hitch.
"I think today went smoothly," said Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport Manager Matt Remynse. "It was a light load."
He said since February is historically a slow month, it is a good time to get started.
"It's a nice time to transition," Remynse said.
Chuck Howell, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Airlines, which operates the flights out of Dickinson, said he is excited about the third flight.
Howell said it should help if one flight gets canceled.
"Three flights is good for (for customers) a lot of reasons - more frequency, more options and better scheduling," Howell said.
Remynse said the slow period won't last long.
"We're going to start getting busier as it gets to spring break," Remynse said.
He said it doesn't slow after that, with tourism in the summer and hunting season in the fall.
"Today was very light," Remynse said. "It's just that time of year; we're coming off the holiday season."
Howell said ticket sales are what the airline would expect given the time of year and the newness of the flight.
"So far we're pleased with what we're seeing," Howell said. "It's a mind awareness, of 'Oh, wow, there is another flight.'"
Howell said once people get used to three flights, he expects bookings to pick up.
With the third flight added, Dickinson has two airplanes landing at almost the same time. One arrives from Denver at approximately 2:45 p.m., and another arrives 10 minutes later from Williston.
Because the Williston flight was slightly early Thursday, it got put in a holding pattern while the other plane landed.
"Today, there were not two on the ground at the same time, but they landed close together," Remynse said.
With so few passengers, not much time was needed to board the planes.
Remynse said a lot of the hard work from the airport side of things was actually getting the third flight. With the flight a reality, Remynse said his biggest responsibility was ensuring additional security.
"The only other thing was making sure we had security and we were in compliance," Remynse said.
Remynse said the Transportation Security Administration is stationed at the airport full time, but additional security provided by Alpha 6 is there as flights arrive and depart.
Howell said the additional flight makes it easier for Great Lakes to spread out staffing. He said in a majority of places GLA flies, it operates a minimum of three flights
He said right now the airline is not looking to add any operational staff in Dickinson.
"Sometimes an additional flight will drive an additional one or two head count," Howell said.
He said the airline would wait to see if it becomes a necessity.
Dickinson received the third flight through the Essential Air Service program, and it will operate through a subsidy for at least two years.
The last time Dickinson had a third flight it was through a federal grant and lasted a shorter period of time. Howell said it was a good testing ground to show the community could support a third flight.
Remynse said at the end of two years, the EAS would assess whether Dickinson needs a third flight or needs the subsidy to operate it.
"They try to wean you off (EAS), to help you grow; they've done that with other airports," Remynse said.
The additional flight operates with the Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia, like the other flights, which has a 30-seat capacity.
The schedule is adjusted slightly and is available at www.dickinsonairport.com . Three flights are operated Monday through Friday to Denver, with two on Sunday. Saturdays continue to have one flight to Denver.