(Rochester, MN) Rochester International Airport (RST) recently announced the addition of five new flights beginning this summer for a total of 13 daily flights, an increase of 65% more flights originating out of Rochester. United Airlines will launch service June 8th with three flights daily to the hub at Chicago O’Hare. Delta Air Lines also recently expanded service with a second daily flight to Atlanta and a fourth daily flight to MSP. With 100,000 new seats to fill annually, choosing to “Fly Local” is now more important than ever.
The airline industry has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Several airlines have been through bankruptcies or consolidations. With those challenges and extremely high jet fuel prices, airlines began pulling air service from smaller markets. RST unfortunately felt the effects of those airline decisions and lost several daily flights in the past.
Today, airports have to make strong business cases to their target airlines as they recruit new air service. Airlines have limited planes and pilots to deploy. RST has been able to maintain strong relationships with executives in airline planning departments, working over several years to make the case that southeast Minnesota can support additional flights. “Recent airline expansion says a lot about the work of the airport to explain to airlines how unique the Rochester metro area is,” said Jack Penning, Managing Partner of Volaire Aviation, a leading air service development firm. “Rochester’s airline capacity is increasing faster than any other regional market in the upper Midwest – a testament to the community’s years of hard work and dedication.”
“Gaining new air service is a great accomplishment but now the real work starts for our region,” said John Reed, Executive Director of the Rochester International Airport. “When an airline decides to invest more resources here, we have to seize the opportunity. Right now, the local residents and businesses have the control to retain this new service and improve our transportation options just by filling the seats and choosing to ‘Fly Local’.”
Air transportation access to the world is critical for local business success. “Local air service is vitally important when trying to attract talent to our region, thus it becomes vitally important to our business community,” said Rob Miller, President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rochester International Airport not only provides a convenient, easy experience for local residents but the air service is put to use by visitors as well. “A major component of Rochester’s continued growth as a visitor destination is expansion and diversity of our air service offered at RST,” said Brad Jones, Executive Director of the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The recent flight expansions are tremendous for Rochester and southeast Minnesota. We encourage our citizens, businesses and visitors to utilize RST and our air service providers.”
RST officials will continue to push for increased flights and are working to gain service to a major western hub such as Dallas or Denver. “There is enormous potential for continued growth at RST,” said Reed. “We need the support of the entire southeast Minnesota region to be successful in retaining these new 100,000 seats and to recruit more flights. We are not the same airport of past years, our airline partners are now offering 65% more flights daily. We urge you to choose RST next time you book air travel and we thank you for choosing to ‘Fly Local’.”
Seventy-one local businesses and organizations have adopted travel policies to “Fly Local”, meaning RST will be the airport of choice for business travel needs. If your business or organization would like to become a Fly Local supporter contact airport administration at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-282-2328 ext. 6.