Jamestown airport boardings stabilizePassenger boardings at the Jamestown Regional Airport rose from 185 in April to 193 in May, which is still far lower than the high mark of 797 in February.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Passenger boardings at the Jamestown Regional Airport rose from 185 in April to 193 in May, which is still far lower than the high mark of 797 in February.
“It’s going to take a while to restore everybody’s confidence,” said Jack Clay, a member of the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority, at its meeting Wednesday.
The JRAA discussed a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., in which stakeholders came together to discuss how to restore Jamestown’s boardings.
At the meeting were Jamestown and Devils Lake airport officials, North Dakota lawmakers, including the Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, and representatives from both Delta Air Lines and Great Lakes Aviation.
Great Lakes, a Cheyenne, Wyo., company, holds the U.S. Department of Transportation contract for Essential Air Service for both airports. EAS federally subsidizes commercial flights to rural communities.
Delta held the EAS contract for Jamestown until mid-March, when Great Lakes took over. Since then, boardings have plummeted after reports of high fare prices and shaky reliability.
At the D.C. meeting, JRAA officials presented a list of problems for Delta and Great Lakes to fix, and both air services replied with answers.
Great Lakes has since revamped its Jamestown flight schedule to increase its reliability. That new schedule takes effect July 9.
In addition, the company is looking at taking some planes out of New Mexico and placing them in Minneapolis, said Matt Leitner, JRA manager.
JRAA Chairman Jim Boyd has since requested a milestone chart from Great Lakes that would set a definite timetable for some of the changes the company said it wanted to make.
Boyd noted Minneapolis is a new hub for Great Lakes, and said that the company was making a good attempt at fixing some of its reliability issues.
“They don’t have enough aircraft, they don’t have enough pilots, they don’t have enough staff,” Boyd said, adding Great Lakes hadn’t really had adequate time to prepare before it took over air service in Jamestown.
Leitner reported that operationally, Great Lakes air service had improved since the meeting in Washington.
At its meeting, the Airport Authority also discussed a wetlands mitigation project that will eliminate approximately six acres of wetlands from the airport’s land — and improve safety by reducing the population of waterfowl and decreasing the likelihood of bird strikes.
The $151,150 project will receive $136,035 in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and $7,557.50 from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, with the remaining $7,557.50 being paid for by JRA.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at