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All-time record: 1,164 paid passengers board fl ights from Jamestown Regional Airport

by Chris Olson

Posted on 8/18/2016

Jamestown Regional Airport set a new all-time record in July with 1,164 paid passengers boarding flights for United Express through SkyWest Airlines.

This was the second consecutive month that the airport''s all-time record for paid passenger boardings was broken. In June there were 999 paid passenger boardings.

The new record-high number for July represents a 45 percent increase when compared to July 2015 with 802 paid passengers.

With the July 2016 numbers, the airport has had 6,486 paid passenger boardings since Jan. 1 for a monthly average of 926 paid passenger boardings. Earlier this year, Jamestown Regional Airport Authority Chairman Jim Boyd said the airport has to average about 833 paid passengers per month to have 10,000 paid passenger boardings for the year.

For 2016, the airport received $750,000 in federal funding for federal aid eligible projects. If the airport is able to reach the 10,0000 paid passenger boardings number by the end of December, it will receive $250,000 more from the Federal Aviation Administration for a total of $1 million.

Steve Aldinger, a consultant engineer with Interstate Engineering, said if the airport makes the 10,000 annual paid passenger boardings, the airport won''t receive the additional $250,000 more in funding until 2018.

Mayor Katie Andersen, a member of the Airport Authority, said she thinks the authority is confident that the airport will make the 10,000 boardings mark this year. She said she thinks the continued uptick in airplane boardings is tied to the improvements seen in Jamestown''s economy.

"A lot of that has to do with the foundation we laid to build up the economy in Jamestown," Andersen said, "mostly in the primary sector to get great-paying jobs here and provide stability to our economy."

Andersen said she wasn''t surprised by the 1,164 number of boardings as she has seen more people flying in and out of Jamestown Regional Airport just in her daily and weekly meetings.

"There is more of that activity (people flying to Jamestown to meet with Andersen in her role as mayor) that happens now than in my first years as mayor," she said.

Jamestown Regional Airport Manager Sam Seafeldt said the reason for the big jump from June to July is it was the first full month four additional flights flew out of Jamestown. SkyWest Airlines added a Sunday morning flight out of Jamestown as part of its new Essential Air Service contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"We didn''t just gradually break 1,000 (paid passenger boardings); we went well over it," he said. "It was due to those extra flights."

Boyd and Seafeldt said they think the airport will have no problem hitting the 10,000 paid passenger boardings mark for 2016.

"I think we are in such a growth mode," Boyd said. "I think we''re in a mode where we will see more surprises, hopefully they will all be positive."

Seafeldt said he thinks people are coming to Jamestown not just because of good air fares, but also the service.

"SkyWest, TSA (Transportation Security Administration), the staff here at the airport, we are all about service and the people who use the airport see that and appreciate it," he said.