UPDATE: Denver Air Connection responds to call to rebid Watertown, Pierre air service

May 11, 2021
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Denver Air Connection (DAC) has responded to a call by SkyWest Airlines that the U.S. Department of Transportation re-bid the Essential Air Service contracts for Watertown and Pierre.

Last month, the U.S. DOT awarded a two year contract to DAC to serve Watertown and Pierre beginning July 1st.

SkyWest, in a letter dated April 28th, said, “DAC’s proposal poses both financial and operational risk that will likely impact their ability to operate sustainably and have a negative impact on the communities.”

DAC President and CEO Cliff Honeycutt responded with a letter of his own to the DOT Monday, saying, “DAC is relibale, fit, willing and able to provide reliable service at a far lower cost than SkyWest.”

Honeycutt points to DAC’s on-time departure rating of 98.12 percent last year, and an average on-time arrival rating of 97.1 percent for all routes it serviced.

In closing, Honeycutt says, “the contract was properly awarded based on established criteria and should not be revisited.”

DAC service to Watertown and Pierre will require a federal subsidy that is $7.7 million less than the SkyWest bid.

DAC will provide jet service from Pierre to Denver, and from Watertown to Denver and Chicago on 50-seat regional jets. 

Read Honeycutt’s letter to the U.S. DOT by clicking here: https://www.gowatertown.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/DAC-PIR-ATY-Appeal-Response-20210510-002-1.pdf