SIOUX CITY -- Traffic at Sioux Gateway Airport will be shut down for portions of seven days in August and two days in September for reconstruction work on a secondary runway.
The shutdown will require some American Airlines passengers who booked flights during those times to fly out of a different airport or change their dates of departure or arrival.
Airport director Mike Collette said he does not know how many passengers will be impacted but he's hoping there are "very few." City officials have been coordinating with American for months on the project, but the airline's reservation system may have allowed some passengers to buy tickets on the construction dates, he said.
"Some of those dates didn't get blocked out," he said. A check of American's online reservation system Thursday showed it's no longer possible to book a flight from or to Sioux City on those dates.
The airline will contact all of those affected passengers by phone or email to advise them of the cancellations and present them with other options.
Like a flight that is cancelled due to weather conditions or mechanical issues, Collette said the airline likely will try to rebook the affected passengers on flights originating from Omaha or Sioux Falls.
Sioux Gateway will be closed for commercial and general aviation traffic three different periods of time: from 8 a.m. Aug. 15 through 8 p.m. Aug. 18; from 8 a.m. Aug. 23 through 8 p.m., Aug. 25 and from 8 a.m. Sept. 14 through 8 p.m. Sept. 15.
With the construction not starting until 8 a.m. on Aug. 15, Aug. 23 and Sept. 14, American can proceed with its early morning flights to Chicago's O'Hare International and Dallas/Fort Worth International those three days.
American, the airport's only commercial carrier, offers three daily fights to Chicago and one each day to Dallas.
The airport is in the midst of constructing its crosswinds runway, known officially as the 17/35 runway. During the three periods the airport is temporarily shut down, contractors will work on the portions of 17/35 that intersect with the main runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration is funding 90 percent of the project, which includes the reconstruction of the south 4,500 feet of the existing runway, as well as construction of the new 1,000 feet extension of Runway 35 and Taxiway C to the south. Other elements include demolition of the north 1,200 feet of Runway 17 and Taxiway C, construction of a new connector taxiway at the end of the new Runway 17, reconstruction of a portion of Taxiway D, and the demolition of Taxiway B.
Collette said the project is expected to be finished by next spring.
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