USDOT selects SkyWest to serve Pierre, Watertown

PIERRE, S.D. (KSFY) - The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected SkyWest to provide Essential Air Service to Pierre and Watertown.

Pierre City Commissioner Jamie Huizenga made the announcement at a meeting Tuesday night.

Pierre Mayor Steve Harding is pleased the USDOT responded so quickly because it was just last week the city commission unanimously voted to recommend SkyWest.

SkyWest will provide six weekly direct round-trip flights between Pierre and Denver and six weekly round-trip flights to Denver that will be shared with Watertown.

The average one-way ticket price will be about $90. SkyWest will fly as UnitedExpress.

In its proposal for the EAS contract, SkyWest indicated it expects to return commercial air service to Pierre and Watertown sometime in April.

Commercial air service to both communities was abruptly halted last month after California Pacific Airlines discontinued service and announced it would not fulfill its federal EAS contract.

The USDOT leads the EAS contracting process by calling for proposals from airlines interested in serving the Pierre market and ultimately choosing the winning proposal.

The USDOT gives EAS communities, like Pierre, the opportunity to review the proposals and make a recommendation.