Pierre Regional Airport

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Pierre Regional Airport

Pierre Army Airfield
Pierre Regional Airport Logo.png
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Pierre
ServesPierre, South Dakota
Elevation AMSL1,744 ft / 532 m
Coordinates44°22′58″N 100°17′10″W / 44.38278°N 100.28611°W / 44.38278; -100.28611Coordinates: 44°22′58″N 100°17′10″W / 44.38278°N 100.28611°W / 44.38278; -100.28611
PIR is located in South Dakota
Location of airport in South Dakota/United States
PIR is located in the United States
PIR (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
7/25 6,881 2,097 Asphalt
13/31 6,900 2,103 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations32,140
Based aircraft98

Pierre Regional Airport (IATA: PIR, ICAO: KPIR, FAA LID: PIR) is a city-owned, public airport three miles east of Pierre, in Hughes County, South Dakota, United States.[1]

Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 15,983 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[2] 13,692 in 2009 and 14,686 in 2010.[3] The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).[4]

Historical military use[edit]

During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces by Air Technical Service Command as a maintenance and supply depot. It was also used by Sioux Falls Army Air Field as an auxiliary airfield for Second Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bomber training.

Historical airline service[edit]

Western Airlines began serving Pierre during the early 1950s flying Douglas DC-3 aircraft on a daily round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Mankato, MN - Brookings, SD - Huron, SD - Pierre - Rapid City, SD - Spearfish, SD - Alliance, NE - Scottsbluff, NE - Cheyenne, WY - Denver.[5] Western would then introduce Convair 240 service followed by flights operated with Douglas DC-6B propliners and by 1968 was operating Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops into the airport with a daily round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Sioux Falls, SD - Pierre - Rapid City - Casper, WY - Salt Lake City - Las Vegas - Los Angeles as well as flying one stop direct Electra propjet service on a daily basis between Denver and Pierre via Rapid City.[6]

North Central Airlines was serving the airport in 1960 with daily Douglas DC-3 service on a round trip routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Watertown, SD - Aberdeen, SD - Pierre - Rapid City - Spearfish, SD.[7] The air carrier would then introduce Convair 340 and Convair 440 service into Pierre and by 1967 was operating flights into the airport with Convair 580 turboprops.[8]

By the early 1970s, the jet age had arrived in Pierre as the airport had scheduled passenger jet service simultaneously operated by two airlines. According to their respective system timetables, Western Airlines and North Central Airlines were both serving Pierre with jets at this time with Western flying Boeing 737-200 jetliners with direct, no change of plane service to Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Salt Lake City and Casper, WY while North Central was operating McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets with direct flights to Minneapolis/Saint Paul and Watertown, SD.[9] In addition, Western was flying nonstop 737 service from the airport to Rapid City, SD and Sioux Falls, SD with a total of four daily flights while North Central was operating DC-9 nonstops to Aberdeen, SD and Rapid City, SD with a total of two daily flights.[9] North Central was also flying Convair 580 turboprop service into Pierre at this time with two flights a day.[10]

During the late 1970s, Western was still serving the airport with four daily Boeing 737-200 flights while North Central had merged with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines which in turn was serving Pierre at this time with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50 jetliners and Convair 580 turboprops with a total of four flights a day.[11] By the fall of 1981, Republic had ceased all service into Pierre while Western continued to serve the airport with 737 jets until the fall of 1985 when it ceased all service into Pierre as well.[12] The airport lost all scheduled passenger jet service operated with mainline aircraft at this time.

Following the cessation of jet service, Pierre would only be served by commuter airlines which is the situation at the present time. In 1981, Northern Airlines was operating flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and other regional destinations.[13] By 1984, Mesaba Airlines was operating commuter turboprop aircraft on a routing of Minneapolis/Saint Paul - Sioux Falls - Pierre - Rapid City.[14] During the fall of 1994, three commuter air carriers were serving the airport: Great Lakes Airlines flying as United Express via a code sharing agreement with United Airlines, Mesaba Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink via a code sharing agreement with Northwest Airlines and AirVantage Airlines operating as an independent carrier. Great Lakes was operating nonstop service to Denver and direct flights to Minneapolis/Saint Paul with Beechcraft 1900 turboprops, Mesaba was flying nonstop to Minneapolis/Saint Paul with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner propjets (Metro III models) and AirVantage was operating nonstop to Bismarck, ND, Rapid City and Sioux Falls as well as direct to Minneapolis/Saint Paul and Fargo, ND, also with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprops (Metro II models).[15] By the summer of 1999, Great Lakes Airlines operating as United Express was continuing to fly Beechcraft 1900 service to Denver and other destinations.[16] Great Lakes then lost its designation as a United Express air carrier but currently continues to serve Pierre as an independent commuter airline.

Until June 30, 2006, service on Great Lakes Airlines to Denver was subsidized by the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The U.S. Department of Transportation selected Big Sky Airlines to provide service beginning July 1, 2006, but that order was suspended when Great Lakes decided to continue service without the EAS subsidy.

By 2007, the airport was being served by two air carriers: Mesaba Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink with Saab 340 turboprops flying direct to Minneapolis/Saint Paul via a stop in Watertown, SD and Great Lakes operating Beechcraft 1900s nonstop to Denver as an independent airline.[17] Following the merger of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines in 2010, Delta continued to operate the Saab 340 to Pierre from Minneapolis as Delta Connection. However, when Delta discontinued the use of the Saab 340 in December 2011, and subsequently announced the cessation of air service to Pierre, flights from Minneapolis were temporarily provided using Delta's Canadair Regional Jet 200 until Delta’s air service ended on January 31, 2012.

Airline service was most recently provided by Great Lakes Airlines as the sole carrier at the airport, which offered daily non-stop flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver using 19-seat (later 9-seat) Beechcraft 1900D aircraft. Great Lakes Airlines flew via interline agreements with Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

The old terminal building, which was demolished in September 2013.

Pierre Regional Airport covers 1,834 acres (742 ha) at an elevation of 1,744 feet (532 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 7/25 is 6,881 by 150 feet (2,097 x 46 m) and 13/31 is 6,900 by 100 feet (2,103 x 30 m).[1]

In 2010 the airport had 32,140 aircraft operations, average 88 per day: 78% general aviation, 11% scheduled commercial, 11% air taxi and <1% military. 98 aircraft were then based at the airport: 71% single-engine, 28% multi-engine and 1% helicopter.[1]

New terminal building[edit]

The current airport terminal building opened on September 12, 2012, a 21,000 square foot facility built by Dean Kurtz Construction

A new terminal had been needed for many years, as the old terminal building was plagued by a number of problems, primarily space constraints. Construction on the new terminal began in late Spring, 2011 and completed in September, 2012.[18] Denver-based Coover-Clark & Associates, Inc. designed the building and Kadrmas Lee & Jackson's Rapid City office handled the construction administration.[19] Initially, a jet bridge was to be installed at the terminal, but airport officials decided to wait until a scheduled commercial airline could use the jet bridge, as Great Lakes Airlines aircraft serving the airport at the time were not jet bridge capable. Officials also waited because Pierre had been without scheduled passenger jet service operated with mainline aircraft for over 30 years. The new terminal building was designed with the space set aside for a loading bridge, so it required very little effort to install one when the time came.

With the introduction of jet service by Aerodynamics, Inc. in 2016, the city began considering a jet bridge for the airport. In August 2017, the Pierre city commission awarded the job of making and installing a new jet-boarding bridge to Sharpe of Pierre for its bid of $716,500. The new jet bridge was installed at the airport on April 23, 2018. A federal grant covered nearly all the costs, with the state kicking in 5% and the city 5%, or about $45,000.

Airline and destinations[edit]

Air service to Pierre is scheduled to resume in April 2019, with daily flights to Denver and continuation service to Watertown. Service will be provided by SkyWest Airlines, operating under the United Express brand using a 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet 200. The airline change comes as a result of California Pacific Airlines suspending all operations systemwide and officially ending flights to both Pierre and Watertown on January 17, 2019.

United Express Denver, Watertown (both begin April 2019)

Map of destinations[edit]

Map of Destinations
All passenger destinations from Pierre Regional Airport (PIR).


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from PIR
(Oct 2017 - Sep 2018)
Rank Airport Passengers Airline
1 Denver, CO 21,230 California Pacific
2 Watertown, SD 12,410 California Pacific

FedEx Feeder is operated at the field by CSA Air.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for PIR (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). faa.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  3. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). faa.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). faa.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
  5. ^ http://timetableimages.com, April 29, 1951 Western Air Lines system timetable
  6. ^ http://timetableimages.com, Sept. 24, 1960 & Aug. 1, 1966 & Aug. 1, 1968 Western Airlines system timetables
  7. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, July 1, 1960 North Central Airlines system timetable
  8. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 29, 1967 North Central Airlines system timetable
  9. ^ a b http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 29, 1972 North Central Airlines system timetable & Sept. 8, 1973 Western Airlines system timetable
  10. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 29, 1972 North Central Airlines system timetable
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Pierre flight schedules
  12. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 25, 1981 Republic Airlines route map & Oct. 27, 1985 Western Airlines route map
  13. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 18, 1981 Northern Airlines route map
  14. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 28, 1984 Mesaba Airlines route map
  15. ^ Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Pierre flight schedules
  16. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Denver flight schedules
  17. ^ Feb. 2007 OAG Flight Guide Worldwide, Pierre flight schedules
  18. ^ Pierre Regional Airport web page
  19. ^ Pierre Regional Airport -- 100% construction documents.
  20. ^ . April 2017 SD: Pierre Regional&carrier=FACTS http://www.transtats.bts.gov/airports.asp?pn=1&Airport=PIR&Airport_Name=Pierre, SD: Pierre Regional&carrier=FACTS Check |url= value (help). Retrieved June 21, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)

Other sources[edit]

  • Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-2001-10128) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
    • Notice (July 12, 2001) of Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to terminate scheduled air service at Pierre, South Dakota, effective October 9, 2001.
    • Order 2002-3-32 (March 29, 2002): establishes a subsidy rate for Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., d/b/a United Express, to provide essential air service in the Pierre-Denver market at annual subsidy rates of $677,495 for the period October 10, 2001, through April 30, 2002, and $318,861 for the period May 1, 2002, through October 31, 2003.
    • Order 2004-7-5 (July 6, 2004): selects Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to continue subsidized essential air service at Pierre, and Air Midwest to provide subsidized essential air service at Brookings and Huron, for a two-year period. Great Lakes' service at Pierre is to be 12 weekly nonstop round trips to Denver with 19-seat Beech 1900-Ds, at an annual subsidy of $449,912. Air Midwest's service at Brookings and Huron is to be 12 weekly flights routed Huron-Brookings-Omaha-Brookings-Huron, with 19-seat Beech 1900-Ds, at an annual subsidy of $2,078,727.
    • Order 2006-5-7 (May 10, 2006): selecting Big Sky Transportation Co., d/b/a Big Sky Airlines, to provide essential air service (EAS) at Pierre, South Dakota, for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2006, at an annual subsidy rate of $379,616.
    • Order 2006-5-17 (May 19, 2006): terminating the subsidy being paid to Great Lakes Aviation, Inc. to serve Pierre, South Dakota, effective July 1, 2006 (suspends selection of Big Sky in Order 2006-5-7 since Great Lakes will continue to provide service without EAS subsidy).

External links[edit]