NEW: Could Watertown have competing airlines starting in July? (Audio)

June 8, 2021
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–July 1st is scheduled to be the date of transition for air service in Watertown.

That’s when Denver Air Connection is scheduled to take over for SkyWest Airlines, which flies under the United Express banner.

Although nothing is official, there is the possibility that both carriers could be serving Watertown into July or even beyond.

Watertown Regional Airport Manager Todd Syhre says SkyWest is required to notify him when they plan to terminate service to the city, and as of Monday, they had not done that.

It’s not clear if that means they’ll continue serving Watertown, but Mayor Sarah Caron acknowledges it is a possibility.

SkyWest asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to re-bid the Essential Air Service contract for Watertown after awarding the bid to Denver Air Connection.

Here’s what Mayor Caron told KWAT News about the situation….

If SkyWest continues serving Watertown, it would be considered, “at risk,” meaning there would be no federal subsidy involved. 

It looks like it’s a similar situation in Pierre, which is currently served by SkyWest, but is set to transition to Denver Air Connection in July.

A statement from SkyWest reads: “SkyWest Airlines has not indicated any plans to discontinue service at Pierre. Customers can continue to book SkyWest / United Airlines with confidence beyond June 30”.