Thursday, November 10, 2011

American Airlines Pitches For Essential Air Service

SIOUX CITY, IA -

A new airline could be landing at Sioux Gateway Airport.

American Airlines presented its plan to bring service to the area.

The current carrier, Delta Airlines, has said it will leave if it doesn't get an essential air service grant, but American has now thrown its hat in the ring.

Sioux Gateway Airport will be getting an Essential Air Service Grant from the federal government; Now the only question is, which air carrier's going get the job?

"The decision that they make is going to impact me and my little business," says Christopher Rants, who frequently flies with Delta Airlines.

Thursday morning American Airlines gave a pitch for taking over air duties at Sioux Gateway Airport. It's bidding for a federally funded essential air service grant, money the airport's current carrier, Delta Airlines, says it can't do without.

"On one hand we have Delta which has been flying with Northwest before them for twenty some years and still feel the need for a subsidy, then on the other hand you have American saying look, we want to use that subsidy as a springboard, to get service up and running," says Daniel Kaplan, President of the Sioux City Airport Board of Trustees.

If American Airlines is awarded the bid it plans on offering two flights a day to one hub, from Sioux City to Chicago.

"If they get good support it is certainly within the realm of possibility they might add a second hub, in our case that would be Dallas Forth Worth," says Kaplan.

American's bid is for around a quarter of a million dollars more than Delta's, it says because of longer flights, Delta's hub is in Minneapolis.

A potential hub change is a situation some Delta frequent fliers aren't happy with.

"I'm flying every week for the last six weeks and it works for me," says Rants. "I don't know if that's going to work for me in the future or not, so I don't want to change what I know works for me and my business."

Delta Airlines will also have a turn to make a pitch. Delta will make a presentation to the Sioux City Board of Trustees next week.

The final decision on which air carrier will take over is going to be made by the Department of Transportation in Washington.

Both the city council and the airport board of trustees will be making recommendations on which carrier each would like to take over.

It's expected the DOT will make it's decision before the first of the year.

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