Federal funding available if airport reaches its goal

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

The city could receive $1 million in federal funds for air service if the local airline boards reaches 10,000 passengers a year within the next two years.

In September, 34 passengers boarded Mesa Airlines flights to Omaha from Brookings, said airport manager Mike Isaacs.

“It was a pretty slow start, because it’s a new route. It takes a couple months for people to book flights,” Isaacs said.

Mesa Airlines started offering flights for the first time from Brookings to Omaha and Kansas City on Sept. 1.

The airline replaced Great Lakes Aviation, which flew from Brookings to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Almost three times as many passengers boarded the flights during October. The increase might be due to the opening of pheasant season Oct. 16, said AAA travel agent Barbara Price.

Hunting season is always a busy time for travel in South Dakota, Price said.

During the opening weekend of hunting season, the Beechcraft 1900 airplane had 15 of the 19 seats filled, Isaacs said.

Price said she has not seen a lot of change from September to October in airline travel through Brookings airport. The new route to Omaha has not had a dramatic effect in the first two months on those passengers traveling from Brookings, Price said.

Business flying are also traveling from Brookings to Omaha, but not as many as those passengers visiting relatives, Price said.