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Boardings slightly down here

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Passenger boardings for Great Lakes Airlines at Jamestown Regional Airport dipped slightly in September to 253, from 267 in August.

But passenger boardings are up 48 percent when compared to the 171 boardings in September 2012.

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The Jamestown Airport Authority reviewed the monthly boarding totals from Great Lakes Airlines during its meeting Wednesday evening. Through Sept. 30 of this year, 1,826 passengers have flown into Jamestown Regional Airport.

Authority Chairman Jim Boyd said that while he is pleased boardings are up for the month as compared to last year, he would like to see the airport return to the higher numbers of boardings experienced in 2011. In September 2011, there were 442 passenger boardings.

In 2011 a subsidiary of Delta Airlines was providing passenger service to Jamestown. Boyd said more people were flying into Jamestown because Delta offered better connecting service. Toward the end of 2011 Boyd said the airline also started offering jet service because Delta took most of the turboprop airplanes used to fly to Jamestown out of service.

"The only plane they could offer us was a 50-passenger Canadian Regional Jet," he said. "When people found out they could fly a jet between Jamestown and Minneapolis, they responded."

The Jamestown Regional Airport receives commercial service under the Federal Aviation Administration's Essential Air Service program. The FAA pays a subsidy to Great Lake Airlines to provide commercial air service to Jamestown. Great Lakes was the only airline that submitted a bid for service to Jamestown after Delta Airlines decided to not submit a bid for Jamestown in January 2012.

The JRAA commercial air service committee has been working on creating a new bid package to attract other air carriers to submit bids for Jamestown. Boyd said the FAA, which oversees the bidding process, will start accepting bids for service to Jamestown on Nov. 1.

"We have a bid package and presentation all ready to go," Boyd said. "We think we'll be able to attract a couple of the larger regional carriers this time around."

Carriers interested in bidding for a stop in Jamestown will have until Jan. 1, 2014, to submit bids. Boyd said ultimately the final decision rests with the FAA, but the authority will have input on the decision.

In other business, the authority reviewed a proposed five-year capital improvement plan prepared by Steve Aldinger, an engineer with Interstate Engineering. The authority tabled consideration of the plan until its November meeting.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at colson@jamestownsun.com

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