JULY 3, 2017 - VOL. 53 No. 10

Chair's Column
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Faces & Places
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FSD: The Airport of Choice in the Region

The Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) has seen exceptional progress over the past several years. Both business and pleasure travelers alike are utilizing FSD with more frequency as their airport of choice.

In 2016, FSD experienced a record year for passenger enplanements (510,487), the sixth consecutive year of record traffic. Additionally, FSD surpassed the one million traveler mark last year, which was 5.3 percent higher than in 2015. In 2017, the trend has continued as FSD has seen a 3.4 percent increase in travelers through the first five months of the year.

A decade ago, the leakage rate (the number of area travelers who choose to drive to other airports within the region) was fairly significant; however, this trend has shifted dramatically. The most recent data from year-end 2015, indicated FSD captured 86.1 percent of the airport traffic. This level was more than five percentage points greater than the previous data from 2013. Of the leakage, Minneapolis ranked the highest at 7.6 percent, followed by Omaha at 5.5 percent-an amount half of what it was in 2013.

Along with the convenience FSD offers its travelers, much of the improvement shown in leakage rates can be attributed to Sioux Falls closing the gap with airports in the region for the average cost of non-refundable airfares. Current figures show Sioux Falls with a $348 average, compared to $340 for Omaha and $288 for Minneapolis.

Some airlines have also recently expanded their destination offerings out of FSD, which has also contributed to the desire to fly locally.

  • In the fall of 2013, Delta began offering daily flights to Atlanta.
  • This summer, United has expanded its capacity to Denver.
  • American Airlines began offering flights to Phoenix this past December.
  • Allegiant expanded capacity to Las Vegas this summer.
  • Frontier resumed its daily flights to Denver as well as flights to Las Vegas this summer.

The waiting and security clearance areas have been updated and expanded at FSD and the U.S. Customs area upgrades are scheduled for completion this fall. Local artists have been commissioned to visually depict the beauty of our area through their artwork.

Forward Sioux Falls, through its Air Service Committee and in conjunction with the Sioux Falls Airport Authority, assists to market the airport and also to attract airlines and destinations to FSD. Recent marketing messages include a focus on the extensive airport upgrades, along with the ease and convenience of flights taken out of Sioux Falls. A dedicated online presence has been established with ongoing analysis and metrics. Automated content such as flight schedules, parking and weather have been added to make the travel experience even more desirable.

Taking a flight in and out of Sioux Falls has never been more flier-friendly and economical. With recent facility upgrades, a minimal difference in flight costs among other airports in the region and ease at which travelers can depart and return, it's very understandable why FSD continues to impress.

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