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Jamestown Regional Airport sets new passenger record

by Chris Olson

Posted on 7/7/2016

On the heels of having its federal Essential Air Service contract renewed with SkyWest Airlines, Jamestown Regional Airport reached a new all-time high for passenger boardings last month.

In June there were 999 revenue passenger boardings for Jamestown Regional Airport, the most ever at the airport since the industry underwent deregulation in 1978, according to airport Manager Sam Seafeldt. Seafeldt said the Federal Aviation Administration only counts revenue passengers toward federal enplanements for a year.

These passenger counts are important, Seafeldt said, because once Jamestown Regional Airport hits 10,000 revenue passenger boardings a year, it will receive an additional $800,000 in funding.

Including non-revenue producing passengers, there were 1,064 total passenger boardings for June. Seafeldt said the 65 or so non-revenue passengers were SkyWest employees and others who had a seat on a flight out of Jamestown.

Seafeldt said the June actual passenger boardings were more than what SkyWest Airlines had expected for the month.

"We ended up being about 150 to 200 passengers higher than we were forecasted for the month," he said.

Seafeldt said he didn''t have a specific reason why June has turned out to be the airport''s best month ever for passenger boardings. He said he thinks more people are hearing by word-of-mouth how convenient it is to fly out of Jamestown.

"People are figuring out that the fares are cheaper out of Jamestown," Seafeldt said.

He said he received a couple of phone calls from a man in Minot who is driving from there to fly out of Jamestown.

"It was cheaper for him to fly out of Jamestown, even with driving down from Minot," Seafeldt said. "Our free parking adds to the savings."

Seafeldt said he was considering driving to Seattle, Wash., for a vacation in the middle of June. After adding up hotel stays and fuel costs, plus time spent on the road, he found it was cheaper to fly from Jamestown to Seattle.

Word is also spreading in the business community about the reliability and convenience of using Jamestown Regional Airport. Connie Ova, Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. CEO, said having a vibrant, busy airport is important in attracting business from outside the area to consider locating to Jamestown.

"It''s one of the top 10 things a site selector looks for," she said. "It (Jamestown Regional Airport) can connect to anywhere in the world with its flights to Denver."

Seafeldt said with the airport buying a passenger boarding bridge from Minot International Airport in May, and expanding the secured seating area in the terminal, Jamestown Regional Airport will be ready to take on more passengers as the year progresses. Foundational work for the passenger boarding bridge starts Tuesday, while work on the secured seating area should start in the fall. The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority will also review quotes at its July 20 meeting on expanding the parking lot area to the southeast.

"We''ve received a lot of help from the state (North Dakota Aeronautics Commission) to do these projects," he said.