SkyWest will take over as main air carrier Dec. 15 | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

SkyWest will take over as main air carrier Dec. 15

Posted: October 4, 2012 - 10:07pm

SkyWest Airlines will officially take over as Brainerd’s main air carrier Dec. 15 — but the change may go unnoticed by most air travelers.

Rick Adair, interim airport manager for Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, told the airport commission Thursday the replacement for Delta Airlines will provide Essential Air Service effective Dec. 15.

Although details of the SkyWest air schedule aren’t final, Adair told the commission he learned that tentative plans call for the return of an approximate 7:30 a.m. outbound flight and 8 p.m. inbound flight.

“This is going to be a much better schedule,” Beth Pfingsten, airport commission member, said.

Delta informed the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission in July of 2011 that it would cease service at some point. SkyWest was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the subsidized EAS in September.

SkyWest began providing planes to serve Brainerd passengers Monday under a contract with Delta Airlines, Adair said. The SkyWest jets prominently feature the Delta name, even though they’re owned by SkyWest. The new air carrier will use the same CRJ 200, 50-passenger jets that Delta had been using and can accommodate the airport’s new jet bridge. Delta Ground Service will provide ground service for passengers.

Adair said air travel reservations may continue to be made at Delta.com. He said SkyWest Airlines marketing officials want to promote the new air service by pointing customers to the Delta websites.

“They (SkyWest) want to be just the airplanes,” Adair said. “The hardware.”

Marketing efforts the commission is considering include billboards and radio and Brainerd Dispatch advertisements.

Adair said Brainerd airport officials would like to have any marketing efforts to emphasize the Brainerd airport’s free parking, short Transportation Security Administration lines and its new jet bridge.

After concerns were raised by Commissioner Jeff Czeczok, the commission voted unanimously that if airport staff members were providing information pertinent to an agenda item to one commissioner then it should be sent to all members. Commission member Kevin Goedker did not attend the meeting.

Commission Chair Andy Larson reported 22 applicants applied in the reopened search for a new airport manager. He said a search committee meeting would likely be scheduled for next week.

The commission voted 3-2 to reimburse manager candidates for actual travel-related expenses up to $500. Voting yes were Pfingsten, Rachel Reabe Nystrom and Don Jacobson. Voting no were Larson and Czeczok.

The commission members discussed phone problems that Airmotive Enterprises is experiencing as a result of the recent terminal remodeling.

Larson said he will talk with Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan about questions raised about the format of the commission’s minutes.

Adair raised concerns about the amount of detail commissioners have been expecting in the minutes.

“It’s getting to be “War and Peace,” he said.

The commission approved a state grant agreement for the fuel containment area at a cost to the state of $4,512 and a local cost of $1,933.80.

Commissioner Jacobson was appointed to a committee that deals with leases.

The commission discussed conducting a special meeting to discuss long-range plans.

The airport commission’s next meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 1 at the airport.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com. He may be followed at www.twitter.com/MikeORourkenews.