By JIM ANDERSON
KINGSFORD - SkyWest Airlines is flying from Dickinson County's Ford Airport, offering two daily round-trip Delta flights between Iron Mountain-Kingsford and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo
Ramp agent John Erickson directs a SkyWest Airlines regional jet at Ford Airport in Kingsford. SkyWest is the new federally subsidized air carrier at the airport, offering daily round-trip flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The airline is using 50-passenger, Bombardier-manufactured Canadair Regional Jet 200s (CRJ200).
Based in St. George, Utah, SkyWest was selected as the Essential Air Service carrier at Ford Airport under a U.S. Department of Transportation order issued in September. Earlier this month, SkyWest replaced Delta Connection, which had provided flights to and from Detroit.
"SkyWest is known as an industry leader in reliability and customer service and we are excited to bring our exceptional service to the Iron Mountain community," said Mike Thompson, vice president of Market Development for SkyWest.
As part of a package EAS bid, half of the Ford Airport flights are nonstop while the others have stops in Rhinelander, Wis. The combined annual subsidy for Iron Mountain-Kingsford and Rhinelander is $4.03 million. The DOT's order will be in effect for two years
Travelers on SkyWest flights continue to enjoy Delta service, accrue SkyMiles and connect to hundreds of destinations around the world via Delta's global network in Minneapolis, Thompson said.
Atlanta-based Delta Airlines (or a subsidiary) had been the EAS carrier at Ford Airport since June 2008. In July 2011, the airline gave notice that it intended to leave a number of EAS markets, including Iron Mountain-Kingsford.
EAS is a federal program that subsidizes airlines to serve rural communities that otherwise would not receive scheduled air service.
With a fleet of more than 323 aircraft, SkyWest operates more than 1,700 flights each day to 169 destinations throughout North America.
Jim Anderson's email address is email@example.com.