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Airport Closures Difficult For Travelers, Hotels

September 6, 2012, 6:44 AM by Kellee Azar

Airport Closures Difficult For Travelers, Hotels

It's a project that's not only impacting travelers but even local businesses as well. With only two more weekends left for the runway project at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, many are counting down the days until it's finished.

It's been a bit of a domino effect for many in the Sioux Falls area. It started out just impacting travelers and now it's expanded to some local hotels. Many around town are taking a hit with the closures.

"So over those weekends we have no flight crew staying with us so it can impact us up to 100 rooms per weekend of lost business," Holiday Inn City Centre General Manager Scott Garrett said.  

While there are still people staying at Garret's Holiday Inn, the way they got there may not have been as easy as it usually is.

"We do a fair amount of business because we are close to the airport. So for all of our airline traffic, of course we don't run those shuttles and it has impacted people coming here to stay.  They have either had to go to an alternate city and drive up, so it's definitely impacting our customers," Garrett said.

Flight crews aren't the only ones seeing the biggest impact. Kay Parrott from AAA South Dakota says it's the business travelers that usually leave on a Monday and return on Friday. 

"We are seeing clients that have to go out on a Wednesday and fly back into Sioux City or Omaha if they are coming back on Friday or Saturday, renting a car and driving up here," Kay Parrott said.

Both travel agents and hotels we spoke with agree everyone is ready for the work to be done but they also understand.

"It needed to be done.  It will be good when it's over and it will improve the facility tremendously and safety and that sort of thing.  But yeah we are more than ready for it to be finished," Parrott said.

"There's no good time to shut the airport down; I know that. But I also know that the work needed to be done.  So it is a difficult time for the airport operations as well.  But we are ready for it to be over," Garrett said.

The airport is scheduled to close this weekend and again the following weekend when they will officially wrap up the project.

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