Delta is coming back to Williston Basin International Airport.
A contract approved by the Williston City Commission is bringing Delta Airlines back to Williston. XWA Airport Director Anthony Dudas presented the commissioners with a one-year year agreement from SkyWest Airlines to operate at least one daily round trip flight on a CRJ-200, 50 Seat aircraft.
Dudas told commissioners that SkyWest had approached the airport in February to discuss resuming flights to Minneapolis through a partnership with Delta Airlines. Dudas said SkyWest asked if the City would be interested in mitigating potential financial impacts associated with this flight.
“There are similar examples of this type of agreement across the country that happen somewhat regularly,” Dudas explained. “This isn’t a one-off agreement, this is something that is relatively common within the airline industry as communities try to enhance their service.”
Delta suspended service to XWA in June 2020 due to the pandemic. Under this agreement, Delta would resume air travel almost exactly one year after they suspended it, on June 5, 2021.
How does the agreement work? Dudas explained that the agreement states that if the passenger revenue is greater than the actual operating costs, no amount will be owed to SkyWest by the City. If the costs are higher than revenue, the difference will be paid to SkyWest on a quarterly basis. The agreement allows for the City to cancel this agreement for any reason with 90-day notice.
“At the end of every three month period, (SkyWest) will report their actual costs and revenues as part of this operation, and any shortfall between those two would be the responsibility of the City of Williston.” Dudas said.
Dudas added that the maximum amount that the city could be obligated to pay over the 12-month period was $1,107,914. Without an agreement like this in place, Dudas continued, there would be no formal timeline for Delta to resume service. The agreement would have to be renewed yearly for SkyWest to continue services. Dudas said the agreement is a major win for XWA and its passengers in the region.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with Delta Air Lines which will bring additional air service to XWA as the nation continues to recover from the pandemic,” Dudas said. “Delta’s return of daily service to Minneapolis will greatly benefit our region’s leisure and business travelers whether they’re heading to Minneapolis or beyond. With stringent cleaning and safety measures in place, we look forward to welcoming additional travelers to the Williston Basin.”
Dudas said an announcement regarding schedules and other details relating to Delta Airlines’ services will be coming in the next week.