SkyWest is the best choice to serve Brainerd Regional Airport | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

SkyWest is the best choice to serve Brainerd Regional Airport

Posted: August 10, 2012 - 5:18pm

Anyone who flies out of Brainerd or who works for a business that benefits from air service should root hard for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to select SkyWest Airlines as the main air carrier at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

Frequent flyers and other interested parties can do more than just root, however. They may contact the federal DOT and strongly urge the appropriate officials to make that choice. The email address for conveying that message is brian.swanson@dot.gov. by Aug. 17.

Why SkyWest? Primarily because the airline would use the same type of aircraft that Delta Air Lines currently uses to serve travelers at Brainerd’s airport — 50-passenger CRJ200 jets. SkyWest planes would have a rest room and a flight attendant on board. Great Lakes Airlines, the alternative carrier, would fly Beechcraft 1900 19-seat aircraft with no rest room. The larger plane used by SkyWest would allow the airport to use its jet bridge, which provides for easier access for handicapped and other passengers. The CJ200s also have cargo room for equipment brought along by our visitors who want to golf or attend hockey camps. Patrons of the Brainerd airport could also keep their Delta rewards program intact, a big plus for the many business travelers.

The selection of SkyWest may even be a slight break for the taxpayers since the St. George, Utah-based airline is asking for a Essential Air Service subsidy of $1,356,764 compared to Great Lakes’ request of a $1,785,221 subsidy.

Other Brainerd area units of government will likely follow suit and back the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission’s choice of SkyWest.

Air service is vitally important to the Brainerd area’s economy and the selection of SkyWest would place the airport in much better position to succeed in the years to come.

Mike O’Rourke