(KWAT) — Watertown along with Pierre is without commercial air service after California Pacific Airlines announced Sunday that they’ve ended service to Watertown and Pierre immediately; service that was spelled out under an Essential Air Service contract with the federal government. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the two cities. California Pacific has cancelled or delayed dozens of flights to Denver in the past two months, and has unpaid bills in Watertown and Pierre. With their decision to shut down operations in South Dakota, Watertown and Pierre will wait to see what other airlines will now bid to replace CP Air. The deadline to submit proposals is January 30th. Watertown Mayor Sarah Caron says there will be a gap in service until a new airline is chosen, but that’s not all bad….
Caron says the new airline chosen will likely provide flights to Denver, Minneapolis or Chicago. And she says this latest bit of bad news with CP Air should not impact Watertown’s plans to get a new airport terminal built….
CP Air says it will focus on re-establishing its west coast service. In the meantime, all of the airlines employees have been laid off for at least the next three weeks.