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Governor Noem Urges Secretary Buttigieg to Reconsider Essential Air Service Decision

May 12, 2021

PIERRE, SD – Today, Governor Kristi Noem urged U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg to reconsider his agency’s decision regarding Essential Air Service (EAS) at the Pierre and Watertown airports. DOT awarded the two-year EAS contract to Denver Air Connection for both airports, contrary to the united recommendation of Governor Noem, the full Congressional delegation, and both cities that SkyWest’s EAS contractbe renewed.


“Because of SkyWest’s quality service, traffic at Pierre and Watertown Regional Airports skyrocketed prior to the pandemic,” said Governor Noem. “After the Biden Administration announced an infrastructure package worth over $2.5 trillion, it seems inconsistent to reject SkyWest’s superior service. I strongly encourage you to rethink this decision and instruct your team to issue a re-bid.”


Governor Noem emphasized that the change in service would have a detrimental impact on tourism to these cities and the surrounding areas. Additionally, the loss of high-quality service would put jobs, small businesses, and economic growth at risk in both cities, which are vital economic centers for South Dakota.


You can read Governor Noem’s letter to Secretary Buttigieg here.