The Tuesday afternoon flight into Aberdeen arrived, but couldn't leave until about 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon flights into Aberdeen did not arrive.
Wednesday's late flight arrived in Aberdeen and departed Thursday morning as the airport's normal flight schedule resumed.
Wilson said that while snow removal from the runway went pretty well during a winter storm about two weeks ago, one flight in Aberdeen had to be rerouted because the runway was too icy. The night flight from Minneapolis on Jan. 28 ultimately had to land in Bismarck, N.D., he said. It flew into Aberdeen the next morning, then departed late in the morning, he said.
If the readings that measure how slippery the runway is had been known by officials at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the flight likely wouldn't have left for Aberdeen, he said.
At the State of the City address, Wilson said it would be helpful for people to contact South Dakota's congressional delegation. The federal Department of Transportation pays SkyWest about $1.2 million per year to provide service between Aberdeen and Minneapolis. In 2011, the DOT selected SkyWest to serve Aberdeen through the federal government's Essential Air Service program.
Smith said during the Thursday address that he would like to see more flights a day or see more than one carrier serve Aberdeen.
Because the birthrate isn't what it was in the Dakotas, the only way Northern will grow is by bringing in students from around the world, Smith said. After the meeting, Smith said people fly to Northern almost every day. In addition to students, those people include staff members and consultants.
Also at the State of the City gathering, Jim Barringer, executive vice president of Aberdeen Development Corp., said city officials have met in the past with representatives of Northwest Airlines (now Delta) and United. In those conversations, the airlines told Aberdeen representatives that if there is demand, the airlines will provide the flights. Demand does increase during hunting season, Barringer said, but he's not sure if the airlines ever gave Aberdeen a target figure.
In recent years, Levsen said many Aberdonians have taken the attitude that nothing can be done about the city's air service. But maybe it's time to take a look at airlines again, he said.
Nobody likes to use the word subsidy, Levsen said, but sometimes things don't happen unless you make that happen.
Carl Perry, one of those in attendance, said he hasn't given up on trying to improve Aberdeen's airline service. Perry commended the job that Wilson has done recently.
Levsen said an airline will never increase the number of flights just to be nice to us. The city has to find a way to make additional service profitable to the airline, he said.
In other action at Thursday's Airport Board meeting, the board:
·Approved payment of $35,150 to JDH Construction for ongoing renovation work to the airport terminal.
Wilson said a new luggage conveyor will be installed Feb. 18.
·Set a public hearing for March 21 concerning the removal of more than 54 acres of wetlands from airport property.
·Approved paying $182,866 to the Federal Aviation Administration for engineering services for a planned runway project. Now, the ends of two airport runways touch. The so-called "decoupleing" project will change that and will include other work.
The airport/city will be reimbursed for the vast majority of the total after the work is done. Ultimately, the federal government will cover 90 percent of the cost, the state 5 percent and the city 5 percent.