There were approximately 35,000 flights in and out of the Pierre Regional Airport in 2017. A little more than 40% of those flights were corporate or private aviation operations. The remainder consisted of local general aviation, agricultural, cargo, commercial air carrier and military flights.
“If you average that out, we have about a 100 flights a day either coming in or out of the Pierre Airport,” said Mike Isaacs, Airport Manager. “The firefighting rescue staff support all of the commercial flights, and we keep runways clear from early morning until late evening every day of the week. It’s a busy place.”
Although there is a wide range of flight activity, commercial service tends to receive the most attention. Isaacs says that’s with good reason.
“Federal financial support to maintain and operate our airport is hinged on our commercial air traffic,” said Isaacs. “When a commercial airport can demonstrate that it has achieved at least 10,000 enplanements in a given year, it receives $1-million in federal Airport Improvement Program dollars.”
Isaacs says that those dollars help keep the taxiways and runways in operating order for all of the 35,000 flights coming in and out of Pierre. It also pays for snow removal equipment and other capital improvements like the new airport fire station. Thanks to the success of ADI, Pierre’s current commercial air carrier, Pierre will receive $1-million for its 2017 activity.
“The most recent data I have shows that ADI had 11,691 enplanements in 2017. We picked up another 100 commercial enplanements thanks to a Swift Air charter flight to Wendover, NV this summer,” said Isaacs.
Pierre’s commercial air activity is nearly double what it was in 2016. Isaacs credits the hard work of the City Commission and ADI for returning reliable scheduled service to central South Dakota. In 2017, ADI had On Time Arrivals nearly 83% of the time and, according to an OAG report, that makes ADI comparable with Delta Airlines’ performance. The OAG report, ranked Delta as the third most punctual major air carrier in the world.
“ADI has proven to the industry that Pierre is a viable market for commercial air service. As a result of their activity, we’re starting to see interest from other air carriers that might be interested in serving Pierre,” said Isaacs.