SkyWest Airlines took its first flight from the Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport last Friday, Jan. 4. The airline is affiliated with Delta Airlines and will provide two flights daily to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Flight departure times are scheduled for 7:11 a.m. and 3:26 p.m. every day of the week.
SkyWest received approval from the Department of Transportation to begin flights in Rhinelander under the Essential Air Service program, which requires smaller airports to have airline services that link with bigger airport hubs. Airlines that provide these air links get subsidized through the federal government for this type of transportation.
SkyWest provides global access to millions of travelers across the globe and partners with the world’s largest network carriers, including United Air Lines, U.S. Airways, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
This airline carries more than 24 million passengers per year throughout North America. A company worth more than $2 billion, SkyWest’s fleet consists of more than 300 aircraft operating 1,800 flights each day nationwide. With a fleet of 323 aircraft, SkyWest employs 10,000 aviation professionals who operate more than 1,700 flights each day to 169 destinations throughout North America. The airline is headquartered in St. George, Utah.
SkyWest is replacing Frontier Airlines, which also provided two flights a day between Rhinelander and Milwaukee. In 2011, an average of 88 passengers flew out of Rhinelander per day.
Joe Brauer, director of the Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport, is happy that SkyWest has come to service this area. “I feel very confident that we can build an even larger customer base with this airline,” he said. “Lots of flyers are brand loyal and Delta has a large customer base. I’m confident our market will come back.”
The company provides jobs for 11 full- and part-time employees who are local residents. “We’re seeing an uptick in everything that is connected with an increase in air travel,” said Brauer. “Everything from rental car companies to hotels will benefit.”