Air service to Bemidji will continue

Jan 27, 2012 Issues: Transportation


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Collin Peterson today announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has selected SkyWest Airlines, Inc. to provide Essential Air Service to Bemidji. In 2011, Delta Airlines announced they would suspend service to Bemidji as well as other greater Minnesota airports. Klobuchar, Franken and Peterson worked closely with Bemidji officials to ensure continued air service to the community.

“Air service to Bemidji helps residents travel efficiently and allows local companies to do business across the country and world,” Klobuchar said. “I worked closely with the Bemidji community to ensure that this vital air service continues, and today’s announcement is good news for families and the local economy.”

“Maintaining air service in Bemidji keeps jobs and money coming into the city and surrounding region,” said Sen. Franken. “I’m pleased that the hard work we’ve done together has paid off and that people in the Bemidji area will still be able to benefit from all the good this airport does for the community.”

"I commend the work of the local officials who worked to make sure another carrier was found," Peterson said. "It's clear that continuing Essential Air Service in Bemidji helps to create and maintain jobs in the region, and area businesses and individuals who rely on it will back that up emphatically."

"Bemidji strongly supports SkyWest's air service to our community,” said Bemidji Regional Airport Manager Harold Van Leeuwen. “Reliable air service is critical for the economic development of the region, helping attract new businesses and investment in the local economy."

In July, Klobuchar wrote a letter to Delta Airlines urging the company to ensure continued service to greater Minnesota airports by either reconsidering its plans to reduce service or finding alternative carriers to replace Delta. Klobuchar serves on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Aviation, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s aviation system and all U.S. airline carriers.

Also in July, Sen. Franken wrote to Delta Airlines and pushed Senate negotiators to fully fund community air service to communities all over Minnesota, saying that air service is critical to the efforts of small communities to create jobs and economic development.