SkyWest cuts three weekly flights in Aberdeen

There will now only be one flight in and out of Aberdeen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 4:52 PM CST
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - For years, passengers at the Aberdeen Regional Airport have had 14 flights to and from Minneapolis to select from each week, but SkyWest Airlines has temporarily cancelled three of those flights.

There will now only be one flight in and out of Aberdeen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The evening departure flight will no longer be available on those days each week.

The agreement for commercial flight services is between SkyWest Airlines and the U.S. Department of Transportation, so the City of Aberdeen did not have a hand in the decision.

”We weren’t prepared for this. We got an email stating their plan. There was no prior discussion,” said Aberdeen Transportation Director Rich Krokel.

Staff shortages, especially with pilots, are cited as part of the reasoning behind the flight changes. The flight changes, however, could impact the workforce in Aberdeen as well.

“For instance, medical personnel that spend the week in Aberdeen and would normally fly out Friday afternoon or Friday evening, it definitely impacts those folks,” said Krokel.

Krokel says SkyWest selected flights with low passenger counts to eliminate, but eliminating the Friday evening departure will give weekend travelers fewer options.

”It affects regular passengers in planning for their weekend. If they want to get out of here Friday night after work, unfortunately for the next couple of months, they’re not going to be able to do that unless they take the Saturday morning flight out,” said Krokel.

To determine how much the change will affect Aberdeen passengers, the city is now asking the public for comments.

“If you have always had a flight and it’s always been there and you’ve used it and been able to build your life around it, and now you can’t, we really do need to hear that. I think the Friday afternoons, I can tell you that I was working on scheduling a flight and this change impacted that. So, if you’re flying home to see someone over the holidays or for a quick weekend, that might impact that,” said Aberdeen City Manager Joe Gaa.

The public is encouraged to contact the City of Aberdeen Transportation Office by calling 605-626-7020 or emailing transportationdirector@aberdeen.sd.us. The comments will be presented to SkyWest, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other interested parties.

”We really need those comments from the citizens who are being impacted by this, that have actually said, ‘This is what has happened to my scheduling because of these changes.’ That will be very helpful for us to be able to advocate for the citizens,” said Gaa.

The change in flights will last from December 1st, 2022, through January of 2023, but the city says they’re hoping the change won’t become permanent.

”We want our 14 flights a week. Our passengers, our community wants the 14 flights a week. We’ve grown accustomed to it. We’ve always had reliable jet service for the last ten plus years and we’re not ready to give that up,” said Krokel.