Hoeven Calls On Delta Air Lines Officials to Resolve Devils Lake Air Service Issue

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today contacted Delta Air Lines officials in an effort to resolve an air service issue that is interrupting daily service to Devils Lake. 

Company officials say aircraft destined for the city could be diverted due to weather and altered runway conditions. Delta Vice President for Government Relations Andrea Newman said a new elevated road has reduced the effective length of the runway, making larger Canadian Regional Jets (CRJ) unable to land when wind conditions are not optimal. 

“I spoke directly with the head of Delta Government Relations and expressed in no uncertain terms that they need to provide consistent and dependable air service to the Devils Lake community,” Hoeven said. 

Newman said the last Saab 340 aircraft was retired from the Delta Connection fleet on November 30. The CRJ 200 regional jet is the smallest remaining aircraft in the Delta Connection fleet, and the company is operating the CJR 200 in all communities previously flown by Saabs. 

According to Newman, the CJR 200 requires a minimum available landing distance of 5,000 feet.  There is 5,500 feet of runway at Devil's lake. However, an elevated highway was constructed at the airport boundary, which required the aircraft touch-down point to be moved down the primary runway, leaving less than 5,000 feet of available landing distance.  Aircraft can land in one direction, but not the other. 

The airline is attempting to complete every flight possible, she said, but when conditions do not permit safe operations, they are transferring passengers to Grand Forks where there is frequent scheduled jet service.  She said the company is exploring all available options including finding a substitute operator with smaller and more suitable aircraft as quickly as possible.