Rapid City Regional Airport continues on growth trajectory

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Business at Rapid City Regional Airport has continued to climb to new heights this summer.

Passenger traffic through the airport in the first half of 2018 has increased over the same period in 2017. The numbers were bolstered by tourism traffic, thanks to the addition of a seasonal flight to New York-Newark Liberty Airport, and a second weekly flight to Charlotte, N.C.

The airport has been actively working with airlines to add service to Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Orlando, to open up the Black Hills to more tourist markets.

Airport officials credit this strategic targeting of markets and routes – allowing one customer base to support the other.

"We support both the leisure tourism and the business market,” said Patrick Dame, executive director of the airport. “But right now the best way to grow the market here is based on the tourism side, and the business side will benefit from what we're able to bring in on the tourism side."

Dame believes that slow and steady growth is best for the airport’s future.

"The growth that we've had has been comfortable growth,” Dame said. “We're not seeing a boom out of this. It's just been steady, good steady pace … I think we're going to be able to see that same rate of pace here, and I think it's good for the community and good for the airport."

As of the end of June this year, total passengers embarking or disembarking at the airport climbed to 266,916, a 4.6 percent increase over the same period last year.

Available seats rose to 317,434 and average load factors – one of the most important factors in route profitability - increased to 84.1 percent.

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