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Aerodynamics Inc. makes inaugural flight out of Pierre

PIERRE (AP) -- Aerodynamics Inc. has begun flights between South Dakota's capital city and Denver after a rocky two-year process, pleasing both city and state leaders.

PIERRE (AP) - Aerodynamics Inc. has begun flights between South Dakota's capital city and Denver after a rocky two-year process, pleasing both city and state leaders.

"I know (first lady) Linda and I will be flying out of Pierre again," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said during a Monday ceremony marking Aerodynamics' first flight with a 50-passenger jet. Daugaard and others have been flying out of Sioux Falls or Rapid City, according to the Capital Journal.

Pierre officials began looking for a new carrier in 2014 after becoming dissatisfied with Great Lake Airlines, whose service to Denver and Minneapolis was plagued by flight delays and cancelations. Great Lakes blamed the problems on a pilot shortage caused by federal regulations.

Pierre leaders in late 2014 recommended Aerodynamics take over service under the federal Essential Air Service subsidy program that aims to maintain flights in smaller, rural communities. City officials later soured on the carrier due to concerns over finances and management. Last April, they decided to once again recommend Aerodynamics, after the carrier made leadership changes.

The federal Transportation Department earlier this summer awarded a two-year contract to Aerodynamics to provide federally subsidized air service to Pierre and Watertown.

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Pierre no longer has service to Minneapolis, as it did with Great Lakes, but Mayor Laurie Gill said "our first goal was to get reliable service to a major hub (and) we've done that."

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