Poised for takeoff

Jet service to begin March 1 at Fort Dodge airport

-Messenger file photo
Josiah Telander, 11, at left, along with his brother, Jeremiah Telander, 7, of Kasson, keep busy with a video game as they wait for their grandfather, veteran Larry Fatka, of Paton, to return from the 18th Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight in May 2019 at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport. United Express flights from Fort Dodge to Chicago will be offered beginning March 1.

The first United Express jet to link Fort Dodge and the rest of the world via Chicago O’Hare International Airport will take off on March 1.

Tickets for that flight and others are already available online, airline and airport officials have announced.

The airline will provide 12 round trips to Chicago every week. In the Windy City, passengers will be able to connect to United Airlines flights to destinations all over the country and the world. They will be able to make those connections without having to re-check their bags.

United Express, operated by SkyWest Airlines Inc., was picked last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation to serve Fort Dodge Regional Airport with the aid of a federal subsidy.

“We are very excited for the level of professional air service SkyWest Airlines offers with their 47-year history of connecting small and medium communities to the national transportation system and providing our region with access to one of the world’s largest airline networks,” said Rhonda Chambers, the director of aviation at Fort Dodge Regional Airport.

-Messenger file photo
An empty Fort Dodge regional Airport awaits visitors in November. United Express flights from Fort Dodge to Chicago will begin March 1.

“The business community and leisure travelers have been wanting jet air service that provides seamless connectivity to not only the cities across the nation, but also for those businesses that have overseas partners,” she added.

Greg Atkin, managing director of market development for SkyWest Airlines Inc., said the flights will be “a great option for Fort Dodge travelers.”

In a written statement, he also explained the health precautions that will be taken on every flight.

“Passengers on every flight will also be able to fly with confidence thanks to the layered approach to safety, which includes enhancd cleaning, mandatory face coverings and customer self assessments with check-in,” Atkin said.

Bombardier CRJ-200 jets that seat 50 people will be used for the flights.

There has been no commerical jet service in Fort Dodge since early 2012, during the last months of Delta Air Lines’ presence in the community.

United Express will replace Air Choice One as the local air carrier. That airline uses turbo prop planes for flights to Lambert St. Louis International Airport in Missouri and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota.

United Express offers tickets, careers

To book flights to and from Fort Dodge Regional Airport on United Express, visit united.com.

Flights can also be booked by calling 800-UNITED (800-846-8331).

SkyWest Airlines Inc., which will operate the flights, is looking for local people to work as cross-utilized agents at Fort Dodge Regional Airport. Those agents work with passengers, help with ticketing and handle baggage. More details and an application can be found at www.skywest.com/careers.


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