Rapid City Regional Airport Receives State Assistance for New Air Service Development

RAPID CITY, S.D. (03/25/2021) – The Rapid City Regional Airport announced its support and appreciation for Senate Bill (SB) 162 which was signed into law by Governor Noem on Monday, March 22, 2021. SB 162 appropriates funds for airport route restoration, business development,

and air service marketing.

RAP will receive $1.9 million to be used to develop new routes with potential new carrier(s). All funds will be managed and distributed by Elevate Rapid City through a joint effort to lure the air carriers to bring new service to Rapid City. The cost to airlines to bring in new service is extremely high with carriers typically not generating any profit for up until the end of the first year or later. These funds will be used to offset that risk by providing revenue guarantees and/or assistance with startup costs. The airport will have up to four years to use the funds. If the funds aren’t spent, they will be returned to the State.

Having the partnership with Elevate Rapid City is vital to air service development. Due to federal regulations, the airport is not able to provide these types of incentives which can be provided through community economic groups.

“We know that in today’s competitive landscape, air service is as critical to businesses in the decision-making process as workforce, incentives, and tax structures,” said Elevate Rapid City President and CEO Tom Johnson. “As we bring in more competition and carriers, we can expect to see an increase in the number of companies considering the Rapid City region in response to these direct flight opportunities. This ultimately will create more jobs for our workforce.”

“We are pleased to be working with Elevate Rapid City and that the State legislature and Governor Noem recognized the importance of restoring and building air service to the State of South Dakota,” stated Patrick Dame, Airport Executive Director. “The airline industry was hit particularly hard during the pandemic and the combined effort to restore it will benefit the entire state.”

The Airport is a significant contributor to the economic impact of the communities it serves. According to the State Aviation System Plan, RAP helps generate over $283 million in economic impact to the Black Hills region annually.

It is the mission of Rapid City Regional Airport to provide a safe, environmentally responsible and fiscally self-sustainable operation ensuring high quality services and facilities. Our vision is to provide world class transportation service enhancing economic growth.