Sunday, June 4, 2017

Rapid City Regional Airport (KRAP) welcomes inaugural flight from Charlotte

Rapid City, SD --   The latest connection from the Black Hills to the east coast took flight from Rapid City Regional Airport Saturday.

The airport welcomed in its first nonstop flight from Charlotte, North Carolina - bringing more options for Rapid City travelers.

A Rapid City Regional Airport milestone touched down Saturday.

Passengers boarded the inaugural American Airlines nonstop flight from Charlotte to Rapid City.

Kevin Fannin, a passenger, said "Last time, we drove to Denver and took a flight from there to Atlanta and had a long drive. So this is a great deal for us."

The service comes just in time for the Fannins - who are taking off to see their new grandson on the east coast.

Heather Fannin, a passenger, said "So we are thrilled that there is a Charlotte flight."

The nonstop flight will start as a Saturday-only service through August 19th.

Shawn Gab, the president of the Rapid City Regional Regional Airport board of directors, said "However, with the help of the traveling public - we hope to turn this into yet another year-round service."

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is American Airline's second largest hub, with sometimes more than 600 daily departures and 150 plus destinations.

Patrick Dame, the executive director of the Rapid City Regional Airport, said "You know it gives us more connections basically to the world."

Rapid City Regional Airport is now wheels up on 10 total destinations with the addition of Charlotte, Saturday.

And officials say it comes at a time when other airports are reducing air service.

Gab said "And increasing the number of flights to and from our airport is proof Rapid City and the surrounding cities have a lot to offer."

Bill Eldridge, the vice president of the Rapid City Regional Airport board of directors, said "This inaugural flight will help alleviate how long it takes for people to travel from Rapid City to the east coast. As well as people traveling from the east coast into Rapid City."

They say the airport supports more than $100 million in tourism dollars for the region.

Gina Bierbower and Louise Stickler, said "Black Hills. We're on vacation. We're here to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. All the sights."

Officials say Rapid City Regional Airport served nearly 600 thousand passengers in 2016.

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