By Chris Olson Today at 6:41 a.m.
The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority is hoping to generate some enthusiasm for airport services as part of the authority’s strategic plan for 2014-18.
The Airport Authority met Saturday to review and update its strategic plan. The authority set its priorities for 2014-18 with the assumption that SkyWest Airlines will receive the bid to provide jet airplane passenger service to the Jamestown Regional Airport from Denver through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Essential Air Services program starting later this year.
The EAS program is a funded by the FAA. Airlines bid to provide passenger service to airports that are part of the EAS program. In exchange for providing passenger service to an EAS airport, the airline receives a subsidy from the FAA.
Currently Great Lakes Airlines, based out of Cheyenne, Wyo., is providing roundtrip passenger service from Minneapolis to Jamestown and Devils Lake. Great Lakes Airline has also submitted a bid for 2014-16 to provide three daily roundtrip flights on a 19-seat turboprop airplane from Minneapolis to Jamestown/Devils Lake.
A decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation on the bids from SkyWest Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines is expected sometime after Feb. 6 according to Jamestown Regional Airport Manager Matt Leitner.
Assuming SkyWest gets the bid, Airport Authority member Brent Harris said he doesn’t think there is currently enough parking space to accommodate a big increase in passengers at the airport.
Airport Authority member Keith Veil agreed and said if the jet service from SkyWest proves popular enough to bring in a second flight daily, the authority should consider space for a new commercial hangar to house a jet airplane overnight.
Chairman Jim Boyd said there is space on airport property to accommodate more parking and hangar space.
The Airport Authority set its committees for 2014-18 and goals for each committee in that time frame.
Boyd, Harris and Mayor Katie Andersen make up the Commercial Air Service Committee. This is the committee that secured two viable bids for passenger air service for the Jamestown Regional Airport for the 2014-16 EAS contract.
The committee’s goals for 2014-18 are:
* building a jetway boarding ramp;
* increasing the number of SkyWest flights and destinations;
* increasing public relations for new passenger and airport services;
* expanding market size with the Denver destination;
* increasing the crosswind runway width to 100 feet to accommodate jet landings;
* creating a terminal area growth plan that includes increased space for parking and aircraft accommodations/hangars.
Boyd said the jetway boarding ramp is a high priority for the new year, as is making more room for parking and hangar space for commercial aircraft.
The General Aviation Committee consisting of Vice Chairman Jeff Wilhelm and members Wayne Mathson and Veil have the goals of building additional hangars for general aviation use, defining and promoting flight-based operation services at the airport, and promotion of the Civil Air Patrol. The committee was also tasked with reaching out to Jamestown High School, the James Valley Career and Technology Center and the University of Jamestown to develop partnerships to encourage students to become involved in aviation.
Craig Neys, a Stutsman County commissioner who represents the County Commission on the Airport Authority, Andersen and Boyd make up the Airport Authority’s Economic Development Growth Committee. The committee’s main goals for 2014-18 are completing the development of airport-owned property along N.D. Highway 20, attract aviation related businesses, including industrial and commercial businesses to the airport area, and do more infrastructure planning.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email atcolson
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