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SkyWest to provide Sioux Gateway with flights to Chicago starting April 1

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Beginning April 1, flights to Chicago from Sioux Gateway Airport will be provided through SkyWest Airlines.

SkyWest, which will be branded as United Express, will provide Sioux City's airport with 12 weekly, round-trips to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport and the Denver International Airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation says the agreement expires March 31, 2024.

According to a press release from the U.S. DOT, Sioux Gateway Airport's Chicago flights were provided through American Airlines starting in May of 2016.

In August of 2020, American Airlines submitted a notice to the U.S. DOT declaring it would discontinue its service in Sioux City. But, through the Essential Air Services program, American Airlines would continue to provide flights to Chicago until a new provider was acquired by the airport.

SkyWest says their airline will fill the void left by American Airlines exit.

David Bernstein, the president of the airport board, said he expects competitive fares for the SkyWest Chicago flights. He said the relationship so far with SkyWest has been promising, after seeing how the Denver flights are doing.

Bernstein said even though this makes the airport a "single-airline airport," the agreement provides more flights.

"That's been very detrimental to the market only having that one flight to Chicago. The award is for 12 flights a week for United, and on top of that seven flights a week to Denver, so in theory there would be 19 flights a week," said Bernstein.

Bernstein added the agreement benefits those looking for connecting flights to the rest of the country.

"The number of flights right now out of Chicago on United are over double on a daily basis than they are on American out of Chicago. We think people are going to see better connectivity, better options departing Sioux City," said Bernstein.

Regarding flight time and days, Bernstein said he expects more information to become available in the next week. When flight times are established, officials say you will be able to use the airport's website, flysux.com, to purchase tickets for the flights.

So what happens if you already have a ticket on an American Airlines flight scheduled after April 1?

A spokesperson the American Airlines said a statement to KTIV that said they're, "...evaluating our service to Sioux City, Iowa, but have no flight schedule changes to share at this time."

KTIV also reached out to the U.S. DOT and asked a spokesperson whether flights to Chicago would still be honored if they were booked through American Airlines.

"The Department expects the air carrier to notify all passengers holding reservations for travel after the termination date, to assist those passengers in making alternate air transportation arrangements, or to provide a full refund of the ticket price, without penalty, if requested," stated an American Airlines spokesperson.

The EAS program guarantees smaller communities, like Sioux City, have access to scheduled air services.

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Dean Welte

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