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Watertown joins Pierre in selection of air service provider

WATERTOWN (AP) -- Watertown's City Council has chosen Aerodynamics Inc. as the city's air service provider, two days after Pierre's City Commission decided on the Atlanta-based carrier.

WATERTOWN (AP) - Watertown's City Council has chosen Aerodynamics Inc. as the city's air service provider, two days after Pierre's City Commission decided on the Atlanta-based carrier.

Both cities are recommending to the federal Transportation Department that Aerodynamics, which goes by ADI, be given approval to provide service under the Essential Air Service subsidy program.

Great Lakes Airlines has served both cities, but city officials have become unhappy with what they consider poor service. Great Lakes maintains that problems with delayed and canceled flights were the result of a pilot shortage caused by more stringent federal regulations.

Federal Aviation Administration rules that took effect in August 2013 require co-pilots to log 1,500 flight hours before they can work for commercial airlines. They previously required 250 hours.

The Watertown City Council voted 10-0 Wednesday to recommend Aerodynamics serve the city of about 22,000 people, Mayor Steve Thorson told the Capital Journal.

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Aerodynamics needed approval from both Watertown and Pierre to make 50-seat jet service feasible in South Dakota, according to Mickey Bowman, ADI's senior vice president and chief operating officer.

ADI proposes to fly 12 round trips per week, originating in Watertown, stopping in Pierre and flying on to Denver, then back.

"July 1 is a reasonable target" for the start of service, Thorson said.

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