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New Flight at the Jamestown Regional Airport

Posted on 8/13/2009

New flight opening at airport

Mesaba Airlines will stay on as Jamestown's commercial air carrier, and the city will be getting another flight every week.

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority was informed of the award of the Essential Air Service contract during its regular meeting Wednesday evening.

"The announcement was made yesterday that the EAS contract was awarded to Mesaba," said Andrew Schneider, airport manager. "The contract means better service for Jamestown."

The new contract links Jamestown and Devils Lake for both flights each day. Previously the evening flight was non-stop from Minneapolis to Jamestown and then continued to Devils Lake where the plane stayed overnight. The morning flight was from Devils Lake to Jamestown and then directly to Minneapolis.

However, the afternoon flight came from Minneapolis to Brainerd, Minn., to Jamestown and then returned to Minneapolis through Brainerd.

The new afternoon flight will travel from Minneapolis to Jamestown and on to Devils Lake before returning to Minneapolis.

"In addition we have seven-day direct flights now," Schneider said. "The flight times of the weekend flights will be a little different than weekdays but we will have seven-day service."

The direct connection to Minneapolis in the morning began in May 2008 and has led to an increase in passengers using the Jamestown airport.

"We had 302 boardings in July 2009," said Jim Boyd, airport authority member. "That is just seven less than last year when the boardings were up due to the 125th celebration."

A contract, in the amount of $463,000, was awarded to Border States Paving for removing the paved shoulders of one of the runways and replacing the material with soil to be seeded to grass. Construction is slated to begin later this fall and is 97 percent funded with money from the Federal Aviation Administration and the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

The board also agreed to begin promoting the concept of a new terminal building within the community and to possible funding sources.

"We don't want to build this thing over half a decade," Schneider said. "Whoever we're looking at financing this, we don't want to blindside them."

Engineering and architectural work is continuing on the terminal. One of the options for paying for the project is to use FAA grant money, which is limited to $200,000 per year for terminal construction. Preliminary cost estimates range from $1 million to $1.5 million.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at knorman@jamestownsun.com