|Pierre Regional Airport
Pierre Army Airfield
|IATA: PIR – ICAO: KPIR – FAA LID: PIR|
|Owner||City of Pierre|
|Serves||Pierre, South Dakota|
|Elevation AMSL||1,744 ft / 532 m|
Pierre Regional Airport (IATA: PIR, ICAO: KPIR, FAA LID: PIR) is a city owned, public airport three miles east of Pierre, in Hughes County, South Dakota. The airport was served by two airlines until January 31, 2012 when Delta Air Lines regional affiliate Delta Connection ceased all service. Great Lakes Airlines now flies both east and west via interline agreements with Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines.
Until June 30, 2006, service on Great Lakes Airlines to Denver was subsidized by the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The U.S. Department of Transportation selected Big Sky Airlines to provide service beginning July 1, 2006, but that order was suspended when Great Lakes decided to continue service without the EAS subsidy.
Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 15,983 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 13,692 in 2009 and 14,686 in 2010. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).
Historical military use
During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces by Air Technical Service Command as a maintenance and supply depot. It was also used by Sioux Falls Army Air Field as an auxiliary airfield for Second Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bomber training.
Historical airline service
Western Airlines began serving Pierre during the early 1950s flying Douglas DC-3 aircraft on a daily round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Mankato, MN - Brookings, SD - Huron, SD - Pierre - Rapid City, SD - Spearfish, SD - Alliance, NE - Scottsbluff, NE - Cheyenne, WY - Denver. Western would then introduce Convair 240 service followed by flights operated with Douglas DC-6B propliners and by 1968 was operating Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops into the airport with a daily round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Sioux Falls, SD - Pierre - Rapid City - Casper, WY - Salt Lake City - Las Vegas - Los Angeles as well as flying one stop direct Electra propjet service on a daily basis between Denver and Pierre via Rapid City.
North Central Airlines was serving the airport in 1960 with daily Douglas DC-3 service on a round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Watertown, SD - Aberdeen, SD - Pierre - Rapid City - Spearfish, SD. The air carrier would then introduce Convair 340 and Convair 440 service into Pierre and by 1967 was operating flights into the airport with Convair 580 turboprops.
By the early 1970s, the jet age had arrived in Pierre as the airport had scheduled passenger jet service simultaneously operated by two airlines. According to their respective system timetables, Western Airlines and North Central Airlines were both serving Pierre with jets at this time with Western flying Boeing 737-200 jetliners with direct, no change of plane service to Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Salt Lake City and Casper, WY while North Central was operating McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets with direct flights to Minneapolis/Saint Paul and Watertown, SD. In addition, Western was flying nonstop 737 service from the airport to Rapid City, SD and Sioux Falls, SD with a total of four daily flights while North Central was operating DC-9 nonstops to Aberdeen, SD and Rapid City, SD with a total of two daily flights. North Central was also flying Convair 580 turboprop service into Pierre at this time with two flights a day.
During the late 1970s, Western was still serving the airport with four daily Boeing 737-200 flights while North Central had merged with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines which in turn was serving Pierre at this time with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50 jetliners and Convair 580 turboprops with a total of four flights a day. By the fall of 1981, Republic had ceased all service into Pierre while Western continued to serve the airport with 737 jets until the fall of 1985 when it ceased all service into Pierre as well. The airport lost all scheduled passenger jet service operated with mainline aircraft at this time.
Following the cessation of jet service, Pierre would only be served by commuter airlines which is the situation at the present time. In 1984, Mesaba Airlines was operating commuter turboprop aircraft on a routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Sioux Falls - Pierre - Rapid City. During the fall of 1994, three commuter air carriers were serving the airport: Great Lakes Airlines flying as United Express via a code sharing agreement with United Airlines, Mesaba Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink via a code sharing agreement with Northwest Airlines and AirVantage Airlines operating as an independent carrier. Great Lakes was operating nonstop service to Denver and direct flights to Minneapolis/Saint Paul with Beechcraft 1900 turboprops, Mesaba was flying nonstop to Minneapolis/Saint Paul with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner propjets (Metro III models) and AirVantage was operating nonstop to Bismarck, ND, Rapid City and Sioux Falls as well as direct to Minneapolis/Saint Paul and Fargo, ND, also with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprops (Metro II models). By the summer of 1999, Great Lakes Airlines operating as United Express was continuing to fly Beechcraft 1900 service to Denver and other destinations. Great Lakes then lost its designation as a United Express air carrier but currently continues to serve Pierre as an independent commuter airline. By 2007, the airport was being served by two air carriers: Mesaba Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink with Saab 340 turboprops flying direct to Minneapolis/Saint Paul via a stop in Watertown, SD and Great Lakes operating Beechcraft 1900s nonstop to Denver as an independent airline.
Facilities and aircraft
Pierre Regional Airport covers 1,735 acres (702 ha) at an elevation of 1,744 feet (532 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 7/25 is 6,881 by 150 feet (2,097 x 46 m) and 13/31 is 6,900 by 100 feet (2,103 x 30 m).
In 2010 the airport had 32,140 aircraft operations, average 88 per day: 78% general aviation, 11% scheduled commercial, 11% air taxi and <1% military. 98 aircraft were then based at the airport: 71% single-engine, 28% multi-engine and 1% helicopter.
New terminal building
A new terminal had been needed for many years, as the old terminal building was plagued by a number of problems, primarily space constraints. Construction on the new terminal began in late Spring, 2011. Denver-based Coover-Clark & Associates, Inc. designed the building and Kadrmas Lee & Jackson's Rapid City office handled the construction administration. A jet bridge was to be installed at the terminal, but airport officials decided to wait until a scheduled commercial airline could use the jet bridge, as Great Lakes Airlines aircraft are not jet bridge capable. As noted above, Pierre has not had scheduled passenger jet service operated with mainline aircraft in 30 years; however, a jet bridge could be used with the current generation of regional jet aircraft. In the past three years, the airport has pursued several airlines that are boarding bridge capable, and the new airport terminal has the space set aside for a loading bridge, so it would require very little effort to install one. The airport hopes to have a jet bridge by 2016. The new terminal was completed in September, 2012.
Airline and destinations
|Great Lakes Airlines||Denver, Huron (SD), Minneapolis, Scottsbluff|
- FAA Airport Master Record for PIR ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
- "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
- "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- http://timetableimages.com, April 29, 1951 Western Air Lines system timetable
- http://timetableimages.com, Sept. 24, 1960 & Aug. 1, 1966 & Aug. 1, 1968 Western Airlines system timetables
- http://www.timetableimages.com, July 1, 1960 North Central Airlines system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 29, 1967 North Central Airlines system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 29, 1972 North Central Airlines system timetable & Sept. 8, 1973 Western Airlines system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 29, 1972 North Central Airlines system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Pierre flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 25, 1981 Republic Airlines route map & Oct. 27, 1985 Western Airlines route map
- http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 28, 1984 Mesaba Airlines route map
- Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Pierre flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Denver flight schedules
- Feb. 2007 OAG Flight Guide Worldwide, Pierre flight schedules
- Pierre Regional Airport -- 100% construction documents.
- Pierre Regional Airport web page
- Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-2001-10128) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Notice (July 12, 2001) of Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to terminate scheduled air service at Pierre, South Dakota, effective October 9, 2001.
- Order 2002-3-32 (March 29, 2002): establishes a subsidy rate for Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., d/b/a United Express, to provide essential air service in the Pierre-Denver market at annual subsidy rates of $677,495 for the period October 10, 2001, through April 30, 2002, and $318,861 for the period May 1, 2002, through October 31, 2003.
- Order 2004-7-5 (July 6, 2004): selects Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to continue subsidized essential air service at Pierre, and Air Midwest to provide subsidized essential air service at Brookings and Huron, for a two-year period. Great Lakes' service at Pierre is to be 12 weekly nonstop round trips to Denver with 19-seat Beech 1900-Ds, at an annual subsidy of $449,912. Air Midwest's service at Brookings and Huron is to be 12 weekly flights routed Huron-Brookings-Omaha-Brookings-Huron, with 19-seat Beech 1900-Ds, at an annual subsidy of $2,078,727.
- Order 2006-5-7 (May 10, 2006): selecting Big Sky Transportation Co., d/b/a Big Sky Airlines, to provide essential air service (EAS) at Pierre, South Dakota, for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2006, at an annual subsidy rate of $379,616.
- Order 2006-5-17 (May 19, 2006): terminating the subsidy being paid to Great Lakes Aviation, Inc. to serve Pierre, South Dakota, effective July 1, 2006 (suspends selection of Big Sky in Order 2006-5-7 since Great Lakes will continue to provide service without EAS subsidy).
- Pierre Regional Airport, official site
- PDF (155 KB) at South Dakota DOT Airport Directory
- Capital City Air Carrier, Inc., the fixed base operator (FBO)
- Aerial image as of October 1996 from USGS The National Map
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PIR, effective July 23, 2015
- Resources for this airport:
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