You can fly from Watertown to Denver on a government subsidy (for a little while longer, at least), or, come December, you can really get away from it all and catch a flight from Sioux Falls to Phoenix on your own dime. According to a press release this week from the Sioux Falls Airport, American Airlines will have its partner Mesa fly a 76-seat CRJ900 (built by Canadian planemaker Bombardier) once a day from Sioux Falls to Phoenix. This snowbird service will be available December 15 through June 2. These Mesa flights will leave Sioux Falls at 5:55 p.m. and arrive at Phoenix at 8:05 p.m. Return flights leave Phoenix at 1:25 p.m. and land in Sioux Falls at 5:05 p.m.
I check Expedia this morning and find American Airlines will take us to Phoenix over the weekend before Christmas for $459.70. The best rate for a Sioux Falls–Denver flight that weekend is on Frontier at $405.20. Expedia shows no Watertown–Denver flights that weekend, but the average fare in Aerodynamics Inc’s original proposal was $83.16 out of each passenger’s pocket and $253.38 in aeronautical welfare payments (should we call it Air Stamps?).
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Sioux Falls has the 120th busiest U.S. airport out of 826 airports. Over the twelve months ending May 2016, Sioux Falls Airport had an average of 25 flights a day carrying 1,340 people out of town (and similar numbers back). Those flights also carried over 232,000 pounds of freight and mail daily. Phoenix was the fifth-most popular destination, behind Dallas, Chicago, Denver, and numero uno Minneapolis. Over the twelve months ending May 2015 (comparing to the most recent year is unfair, since Watertown booted unreliable Great Lakes Airlines at the end of June 2015), Watertown Regional saw an average of four passengers in an out each day, all on Minneapolis flights.