United Airlines plans to suspend Dickinson flights

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United Airlines is planning to suspend service in Dickinson in September, less than a year after Delta Airlines pulled out of the airport.

The company intends to cease operations this fall, unless they can be compensated another way.

Empty seats, low ticket sales and one more airline that wants out of a post-boom economy.

"United Airlines served notice that they will be suspending service in Dickinson effective September 27, unless they can receive an essential air service subsidy," says Kelly Braun, airport manager.

Passenger numbers at the airport dropped from 60,000 in 2014 to 41,000 in 2015. But Braun says passengers shouldn't worry because they're going back to a system that they used before the oil boom.

The Essential Air Service Program is a government program that would subsidize United Airlines or another carrier for operating in Dickinson.

This isn't the first time Dickinson Regional Airport has been a part of the program.

"Historically, Dickinson has been an Essential Air Service Airport, or EAS as we like to call it in the industry. Prior to the 2013 economic boom in Western North Dakota, service was provided by EAS airlines," says Braun.

Braun and other city officials are working with federal delegations to ensure they secure the grant so commercial flights can continue.

"Our hope would be to continue operations with United Airlines, and simply supplant the grant for some of the ticket revenue drop off that they seem," says city administrator, Shawn Kessel.

Braun says under the program, United Airlines will still provide two roundtrip flights per day to Denver.