Hoeven: Air Service Availability is Essential for Jamestown

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today met with Jamestown Regional Airport and local officials to discuss regional air service, which was interrupted last month by Delta because deicing equipment was unavailable for its planes. Hoeven worked to get Delta officials to provide Jamestown with the necessary deicing equipment, as well as to restore interrupted air service to Devils Lake. 

Hoeven has been working with both Delta Air Lines and Great Lakes Airlines to ensure quality service and a smooth transition from Delta to a different carrier at both Jamestown and Devils Lake airports. Delta had announced last year that it would no longer service the cities, but was obligated to find a replacement carrier. 

In the interim, Delta retired its Saab prop planes, which had previously served both cities, and began using regional jets instead. As a result, flights were being canceled in Jamestown because Delta didn’t have proper deicing equipment to service the regional jets. It also resulted in a suspension of air service to Devils Lake because the airline had difficulty landing larger regional jets on the city’s air strip. 

The Senator pressed Delta to resolve both issues and expedite resumption of air service to Jamestown and Devils Lake. He met in Washington, D.C. with Great Lakes President Doug Voss, pressed Delta Air Lines officials to act, and worked with the state’s congressional delegation to bring pressure to bear from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The issue was resolved last month when Delta provided Jamestown with a deicer and Great Lakes Airline agreed to service Devils Lake with smaller aircraft. 

“Reliable air service throughout our state is one of the keys to growing regional economies. New businesses depend on regular fights to connect them to parent companies, branches and clients. New residents depend on flights to connect them to family and friends in other parts of the state and country. As North Dakota grows, so should our air service,” Hoeven said. 

In December, the State Aeronautics Commission reported that airport boardings across the state were up 13 percent between November 2010 and November 2011. Additionally, seven of the eight commercial airports reported record-setting November boardings in 2011. Statistics for December are currently unavailable. 

While at the airport, Hoeven also toured a recently completed phase of the airport’s expansion and renovation project, which has been funded through state and federal sources.

“These improvements make it possible for travelers to have access to more efficient and safer travel, and are part of North Dakota’s efforts to expand its air service to meet growing interest and demand,” Hoeven said.