Northwest Jet Service Possible in Aberdeen This Summer

Northwest Airlines is looking at the possibility of starting jet service to Aberdeen as early as this summer.

"There were no promises being made," said Chuck Bensen, airport board chairman. "But they are looking at it now."

This was said at a recent meeting with Aberdeen airport officials and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and Northwest Airlines.

Dave Osborn, city transportation director, said airline representatives told him that while the company has been in bankruptcy, the restructuring and reassignment of equipment has made more options available to certain markets. Meaning jets could become available for Aberdeen.

One holdup for the airline is what to do with the Jamestown, N.D., connection.

Currently, the last flight into Aberdeen at night carries on to Jamestown and the plane overnights there.

If that flight becomes a jet, it could not overnight in Jamestown, Osborn said, and that route would need to be reassigned.

The airport board is hoping to use $500,000 in federal grant money to entice Northwest to begin jet service to Aberdeen.

Since the first flight out - currently 7:05 a.m. - is the busiest, the board is hoping that would be the one chosen for the 55-seat regional jet.

Right now, Northwest uses its 34-seat Saab 340s, which are noisier and more cramped.

Osborn said other things discussed included the possibility of an additional trip to Minneapolis.

In October of last year, the flight schedule out of Aberdeen Regional was reduced by one round-trip flight a day to four.

Northwest is at least considering going back to five flights a day, Osborn said, but no dates have been set for a possible change.

The airline has said it has no plans to change Aberdeen's schedule through March. At that time all schedules will be up for review.

While there are no guarantees, the news was good for the airport board.

"I was encouraged by that conference call," Bensen said.

Osborn said Northwest and Mesaba Airlines, which handles regional flights to the bigger airline's hubs, are looking to come out of bankruptcy early next year, so things could happen quickly after that.

(605) 622-2310 or 1-800-925-4100 ext. 310; mcorpos@aberdeennews.com


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