PIERRE, S.D. – On July 16, a charter jet will land in Pierre to take 150 people to a resort on the eastern edge of Nevada. It’s been four years since Pierre has had this service, and we can thank airport enhancements for bringing it back.
The jet is chartered by Wendover Fun, a consortium of casinos in Wendover, NV. The seats are filled by anyone who wants to pay $169 to fly to Wendover and spend three days and four nights at one of the Wendover casino resorts.
Although the Wendover economy counts on gambling, it wasn’t willing to roll on the dice on Pierre unless our airport could guarantee the availability of Type IV glycol –that’s a thick deicing agent used to keep the wings of large jets functional during winter conditions.
Now that Aerodynamics Incorporated (ADI) provides jet service to Pierre, we have the necessary deicer, equipment and trained personnel to apply it. Pierre Airport Manager Mike Isaacs recognized this operational enhancement as a chance to boost travel opportunity and enplanement numbers.
“Last time we had the Wendover flight opportunity, the flight filled up really quickly,” said Isaacs. “Central South Dakota has shown an appetite for this type of travel. So, I approached Wendover Fun about bringing back the flight, and they did!”
The Wendover charter flight helps out Pierre’s long-term air-service too.
“It boosts our enplanement numbers. And the more commercial travelers we have flying out of Pierre, the more federal dollars we can access,” said Isaacs.
Each year, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) provides commercial airports with funding to purchase equipment and enhance airport infrastructure. If Pierre has at least 10,000 enplanements leaving our commercial airport each year, we receive $1-million from the USDOT. If we drop below the 10,000 mark, our federal subsidy dwindles to $150,000.
It’s those dollars that are paying for a jet way for commercial travelers, the new fire station at the airport, as well as reconstruction of the private jet parking lot near Mustang Aviation that services hunters, cargo planes, and emergency medical flights.
For more information about the Wendover flight, visit wendoverfun.com