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More boardings; JRA has best July since 1978

by More boardings; JRA has best July since 1978

Posted on 8/1/2014

The main parking lot of the Jamestown Regional Airport was full Thursday afternoon, an indication of how busy the airport has become since regular commercial passenger air service resumed in June.

With SkyWest Airlines, through a contract with United Express, providing 11 roundtrip flights a week between Denver International Airport and Jamestown Regional Airport and Devils Lake Regional Airport, JRA had 647 passenger boardings in July - its biggest July since 1978.

"Not only was it our best July since 1978, it was our second-best month for passenger boardings since 1978," said Matt Leitner, Jamestown Regional Airport manager.

In February 2012 the airport had 797 boardings, which are the most boardings the airport has had since 1978. Leitner said 1978 is when the federal government deregulated the airline industry, which impacted how airlines could operate and offer service to different-sized airports.

In July 2013 the Jamestown Regional Airport had 247 passenger boardings when Great Lakes Airlines was providing daily flights to Minneapolis on a 19-seat propeller-driven aircraft. Through SkyWest Airlines, United Express provides 50-seat Embraer J200 jet airplanes.

"This has been our second-best month overall in 36 years," Leitner said.

Jamestown Regional Airport Authority Chairman Jim Boyd said the 647 boardings are along the line of his expectations of how busy the airport would be once it had commercial passenger jet air service.

"I think we're on the path to get the 1,000 boardings a month that we're looking for," he said.

If the airport is able to average 10,000 passenger boardings a year, Leitner said the airport would receive $1 million from the Federal Aviation Administration that could be used for any FAA Airport Improvement Program eligible projects, like runway repairs or building new hangars.

Boyd said having jet airplane passenger service will have a positive impact on Jamestown and area businesses.

Boyd said he was also pleased to see work had started on the T-hangar building project. The Airport Authority is funding the $535,000 project through a 25-year loan from Bank Forward. The loan will be paid back through hangar rentals. There will be eight hangars available to rent once the project is completed by the end of the year.

"Being able to house more airplanes here, that helps with our general aviation side," Boyd said.

Leitner said he has letters of commitment ready for people to sign who have expressed an interest in renting hangar space at the airport when it becomes available. Work on the hangar building should be completed by Dec. 31.

"The T-hangar project is designed to enhance the general aviation activity here at the airport," he said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email

at colson@jamestownsun.com