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Jamestown Regional Airport could see 10,000th passenger next week

by Chris Olson

Posted on 11/17/2016

Jamestown Regional Airport could see its 10,000th passenger for the year walk through its doors sometime next week. When it happens, there won''t be a big fuss, but reaching the 10,000 passenger mark will mean more funding for the airport, according to Jim Boyd, Jamestown Regional Airport Authority chairman.

Boyd announced at the Airport Authority''s meeting Wednesday that 9,351 paid passenger boardings have been recorded at Jamestown Regional Airport.

"That means we only need to have 649 passengers in November to reach the 10,000 passenger board mark," he said after the meeting.

Jamestown Regional Airport Manager Sam Seafeldt said he sees the passenger boarding numbers everyday from SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest Airlines is the regional airline that contracts with United Express to provide passenger jet plane service to Jamestown and the Devils Lake Regional Airport through the Federal Aviation Administration''s Essential Air Service program.

"I will know which flight will be carrying the 10,000th passenger," he said.

Boyd said Jamestown Regional Airport will see a substantial increase in entitlement funding from the FAA. Currently the airport receives about $150,000 in entitlement funding. By having 10,000 paid passenger boardings in a calendar year, Jamestown Regional Airport will receive $1 million in entitlement funding.

"We won''t see that funding (the $1 million) until 2018," he said.

The additional funding means the Airport Authority will be able to do more airport projects. Boyd said Seafeldt has been working with FAA officials on getting the $1 million into the airport budget for 2018.

"They (FAA officials) are pretty happy we''re hitting that number," he said.

Boyd said he is happy to see the community is using the airport more. He told a story about how the Jamestown Choralaires will be flying out of Jamestown when the group goes on tour next spring.

"They had to book two flights, because they have so many members," he said. "It''s cool the community is using this (the airport)."

Seafeldt said he was glad reaching the 10,000th paid passenger boarding mark didn''t come down to an end-of-the-year, last-minute scramble to reach that mark. When SkyWest Airlines added another flight - a Saturday night inbound flight - to its total number of weekly flights, that really helped with paid passenger boarding numbers, he said.

"They (SkyWest Airlines) added that Saturday night flight in July and that helped us set that record total of almost 1,200 passenger boardings for that month," he said.

Seafeldt said having each of those flights with an occupancy of 40 to 50 passengers through the summer has helped with the passenger boarding numbers. He said over the last two months the daily flight occupancy has been more in the upper 30s or low 40s.