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Aberdeen Optimistic About Airport Numbers

December 15, 2011, 6:35 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Optimistic About Airport Numbers
ABERDEEN, SD - According to AAA, fewer South Dakotans are expected to fly to their holiday destination this year. But Aberdeen is optimistic its airport will buck the trend.

Statewide, air travel at the end of December and beginning of January is expected to be down about ten percent from last year.

Aberdeen has been boasting increases so far this year and needs that trend to continue. Right now, two flights a day serve the Hub City.

"If we could increase our numbers, we get up to the 80 percent, 82 percent, we should be able to get a third flight back in here," airport manager Mike Wilson said.

So those are numbers the airport is fighting to maintain. November reached that mark. And as holiday travel by air is expected to drop nationally this year that may not be the case in Aberdeen.

"Well, I've looked at the numbers for the airline here and we're still doing extremely well. Our flights are booked almost to the max," Wilson said.

Wilson can't pinpoint for sure why that is, but says the airport has been marketing itself. Desiree Vogt and Sarah Delacruz are students in Ellendale, North Dakota, and say a drop in ticket prices attracted them.

"This is the second time I've used Aberdeen just because Bismarck and Fargo have been cheaper before," Vogt said.

"So I'll probably use it again," Delacruz said.

That's what Wilson likes to hear. The airport will be launching another string of ads. November finished 10 percent ahead of last year. He's hoping the same happens throughout this month before that additional marketing even starts.

"There're only five, six, seven seats available per flight on average for the month so we're doing pretty well," Wilson said.

The airport would like to see a morning, afternoon and evening flight to provide passengers with more options.

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