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Lower Air Fares: Huether's Top Five Priority

May 20, 2010, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Lower Air Fares: Huether's Top Five Priority
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether is moving at the speed of sound.

In his first week in office, he found millions of dollars in the city budget to fill potholes. Now he's looking to fill seats at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

Huether says air fares out of Sioux Falls are way too high and they need to come down and soon.  But some say his idea may have to be put in a holding pattern.

The Sioux Falls Regional Airport is remodeling its terminal in order to add more ticket counter space. The idea is to hopefully attract other airlines to town to create competition and drive ticket prices down.

While that's one of Mayor Mike Huether's top five priorities. 

"I talked with thousands and thousands of people. The one thing they didn't complain about was the condition of the terminal, but instead, they were complaining about the incredible prices they were paying to fly to Minneapolis or Denver or wherever," Huether said.

The Sioux Falls Airport loses 40 percent of its business to other cities that do offer cheaper flights. It's why Huether says there needs to be more incentives for airlines to want to land here. 

"This is one of the key quality of life investments that Sioux Falls can make," Huether said. 

"In today's economy, moving fast is not the answer for everything," chairman of the Sioux Falls Airport Authority Tom Lien said.

The chairman of the airport authority wants ticket prices to come down too, but says it won't happen overnight. 

"It's a tough economy. To try and say, 'We're going to do this now,' all we can do here in Sioux Falls is to try to provide a good traveling environment for the public," Lien said.

But for Huether, that environment includes lower air fares, now. 

"The people of Sioux Falls have waited long enough.  The people of this area have waited long enough. We're going to make things happen," Huether said.

Huether says he recently drove his family to Minneapolis to fly somewhere and saved $500.

To hear more of Huether's thoughts on the airport, click on the play button below.

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