Air Choice One sees full flights

‘People are flying in and out of Fort Dodge in record numbers’

Air Choice One planes flying out of the Fort Dodge Regional Airport have been filling up fast in 2018, according to Rhonda Chambers, director of aviation.

“We have increased enplanements every month since January over the year before,” Chambers said.

She said that has equated to an 18 percent overall increase during the same time period (January through July) in 2017.

Chambers attributes those numbers to the airline’s efficiency.

“I believe they are on time,” she said. “They are reliable. I think people who have flown on them will come back and fly on them again because of the cost and their reliability.”

Air Choice One, a St. Louis-based regional airline, announced on Friday it had set a monthly record for passengers in the month of July.

Airline officials reported 1,382 total passengers flew out of Fort Dodge in July, a 12 percent increase from the same month in 2017.

That means an average of 24 passengers per day are traveling on Air Choice One planes.

“When Air Choice One established service in Fort Dodge in early 2015, we were faced with an average of eight passengers per day who were choosing air travel and high per passenger subsidies,” said Shane Storz, chief executive officer of Air Choice One, in a written statement. “By 2016, we had dramatically increased enplanements, and today we’re pleased to announce that people are flying in and out of Fort Dodge in record numbers.”

Air Choice One offers flights from Fort Dodge to Chicago O’Hare International Airport via Mason City.

The airline offers direct flights to Lambert St. Louis International Airport and to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“From day one, we’ve focused on partnering with the community, not only giving residents of Fort Dodge convenient access to air travel with reliable, on-time performance, but also providing support on the ground, being present when called upon to serve,” Storz said.

Storz added, “Travelers and community members know they can count on us, and that’s built a relationship of trust that we’re very proud of and will continue to work hard on.”

Chambers said Air Choice One planes have eight seats.

“Now we would like to have bigger airplanes,” she said. “There’s only eight seats and a lot of times they are full. The next step is get bigger planes.”

Chambers is grateful for the increase in passengers.

“We are very thankful for those who are choosing to fly Fort Dodge,” she said. “I think a big part is the reliability. I think the airplanes are comfortable and it’s easy to get in and out of.”