Sioux Falls, SD
Whether it's cost or competition, flying out of Sioux Falls hasn't exactly been the smoothest of rides. And rising fuel prices are adding even more bumps along the way.
But the Sioux Falls Regional Airport has offered a new $250,000 incentive package to Frontier Airlines to begin service to Denver. And the mayor hopes that's just the start of improving airfare in the city.
These days, flying high off the ground means lighter wallets. And that's something Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether wants to stop.
"The people of Sioux Falls and the people of this area, they want to fly out of Sioux Falls," Mayor Huether said. "Even if we have to incent carriers to do this, it's a good thing."
Huether estimates half of all Sioux Falls residents choose to fly out of Omaha or Minneapolis because they offer cheaper prices. He understands it's not an easy task to get Frontier Airlines to commit to Sioux Falls, let alone, to lower fares along the way. But he says all it takes is some trust.
"What I believe is that when Frontier comes in here, or if they come in here, that the city of Sioux Falls and the consumers around this area, they will prove we are a viable market," Mayor Huether said. "They will prove there's unbelievable demand here."
That demand will accomplish two things, according to Huether. It will help Frontier meet its bottom line and give Sioux Falls flyers better choices.
"That's my goal is to spur on more competition," Mayor Huether said. "Provide consumers with more alternatives. Then, you do have more options when anything comes about, such as higher fuel prices for airlines."
Huether says landing Frontier is just step one of this process. He says other airlines have shown interest in the past, and now's the time for those carriers, too.
"Even if we're successful with this one, we're not done," Mayor Huether said. "We will continue to deal with affordable airfare and improving airfare options in Sioux Falls at least while I'm mayor."
Sioux Falls has offered Frontier an incentive package in the past, most recently in 2007. But the airline turned it down for opportunities to fly out of Rapid City and Sioux City, Iowa. Both of those services have since ended.
Mayor Huether, along with other city officials and the airport board, will meet with Frontier Airlines on Wednesday.