The Dickinson Airport Authority Commission wanted to keep United Airlines at the Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, and it will likely get its wish.
The commission voted Friday to recommend the U.S. Department of Transportation accept United’s bid for Essential Air Service.
A federally subsidized air service contract for $4.16 million would keep United at its “status quo for the service that’s being provided currently,” Braun said. That means the 12 weekly flights between Dickinson and Denver on 50-seat jet aircraft will continue.
Braun said he and Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker will sign a letter that’ll be sent to the DOT as the city’s official recommendation.
“We don’t perceive that we’d have any difficulty getting the DOT to follow our recommendation,” Braun said.
Part of the agreement, however, allows United to have a 90-day notice period to terminate the service. Braun said if the airline were to choose to do that, for any reason, the DOT would likely place a stay order on them until the Dickinson airport could go through the EAS process again.
However, Braun said United also has the opportunity to remove itself as an EAS provider should the airport see a dramatic rise in passenger load, which brought the airline here initially.
“It’d allow them to withdraw from the program if at some point in the future it was beneficial for them to do so,” Braun said.
Braun said he, Decker, Airport Authority Chairman Jon Frantsvog, vice chairman Bob Zent and Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel reviewed four bids that were submitted to the DOT. Great Lakes Aviation, ADI and ViaAir also submitted proposals.
Great Lakes Aviation flew into Dickinson for 21 years before ending service in March 2014 due to a pilot shortage, but also after United and Delta Air Lines began serving the airport.
ADI is short for Aerodynamics Inc. and flies from Denver to Pierre, S.D., and Watertown, S.D. ViaAir is a small twin-propeller jet service that flies mostly on the eastern side of the country.