Watertown Airport Board favors continuation of Denver, Chicago air service  (Audio)

January 19, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The Watertown Airport Board is recommending the status quo for commercial air service in the city.

The board held a special meeting Thursday afternoon and agreed the city should continue with Denver Air Connection flights to Denver and Chicago.

Denver Air submitted the only bid to serve Watertown Regional AIrport under the Federal Government’s Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies for airlines to serve smaller communities.

Denver Air, in their bid to the U.S. Department of Transportation, included an option to fly from Watertown to MInnepolis-St. Paul instead of Chicago.

But Watertown Public Works Director Heath VonEye says Chicago remains the preferred option…

And VonEye says there are other concerns with MSP….

VonEye says it all boils down to Chicago being the safer bet…

Airport Board member Mike Tomlinson says with Denver Air having a ticketing and baggage agreement with United, flying to Chicago makes sense…

The U.S. DOT will have the final say on which routes Watertown gets.

Last year, about 60-percent of all passengers who flew out of Watertown went to Denver, while 40-percent went to Chicago.