Air travelers will soon have a new airline option at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport, as the Federal Department of Transportation announced last week that SkyWest was chosen to take over passenger flight service to and from Rhinelander.
According information released by Airport Manager Joe Brauer, SkyWest, operating as a Delta connection from Rhinelander, will provide two non-stop jet flights a day, seven days a week to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, utilizing 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet 200 aircraft. The agreement is for two years. SkyWest takes over for Frontier Airlines, which had offered daily trips to Milwaukee.
Frontier originally notified airport officials last year that it wanted to end service to and from Rhinelander because of economic issues. However, because Frontier was providing essential air service it could not halt service out of the Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport until a new carrier was selected. In March Great Lakes Airlines was selected, but because the company faced difficulty securing both additional aircraft and gates at airport hubs, new bids were sought to have other carriers provide the service.
SkyWest beat out two other carriers, Great Lakes Aviation and Sovereign Air Inc. for the service deal. According to the information provided, letters from Delta fliers, Brauer, Airport Commission Chairman Bob Heck, Rhinelander mayor Dick Johns and Governor Scott Walker helped seal the selection from the D-O-T.
SkyWest is expected to begin service from Rhinelander in November or December. According to the information provided, if those trips are popular among travelers, flight numbers could possibly increase, or larger aircraft could be utilized.