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75 years of flight at FSD: Sioux Falls Regional Airport to celebrate milestone Sept. 13

In 1939 Mid-Continent Airlines brought two daily flights to Sioux Falls: a southbound flight departing at 12:10 p.m. to Sioux City, Omaha and Kansas City, and a northbound flight leaving at 2:21 p.m. for Huron, Aberdeen, Bismarck and the Twin Cities — placing the city within overnight distance from any air point in the country. The cost was $11.75 for an airline ticket to the Twin Cities and $8.85 for a ticket to Omaha. "When The Sioux Falls Municipal Airport opened on Sept. 15, 1939, it was a milestone event in the city's history," said Sioux Falls Regional Airport Executive Director Dan Letellier. "At the time, air officials said the new $500,000 facility was one of the best in the country. That is something we have worked hard to maintain over the years." BRIGHT FUTURE In its 75th year, the Sioux Falls Regional Airport is breaking countless travel records; in June, 41,955 people flew out of the city. Every month this year, except for May, has been a record for that month. And in March, the airport broke its all-time record, flying 44,686 people to business and leisure destinations. "We are constantly working with carriers to provide travelers with options," Letellier said. "While we cannot control fares, we do our best to bring in competitive carriers." In addition, the airport continues to make facility improvements as a way to attract more travelers. "Our travelers have high expectations," Letellier said. "They raise the bar and we respond with projects that make the airport more convenient, attractive and able to handle the traffic." Over the past several years those projects included added parking, resurfacing of runways, and improvements to the restaurants, gift shop, lounges and ticketing area. And more improvements are on the way. The airport is working on a 20-year plan. Consultants project boardings will rise to 750,000 by 2033 — up from 474,000 last year. Construction is happening on an attached hotel and in the fall, the airport will start an $8 million project that will move the administrative offices, replace the moving ramps with an elevator and escalators. The airport also plans to add additional lanes to the security checkpoint. CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF FLIGHT On Sept. 13, the airport will host a free, public open house to commemorate FSD's 75th anniversary. Events start at 8 a.m. and everything takes place at the Maverick Air Center. Attendees can take part in free EAA Young Eagle rides, and look at WWII and other vintage aircraft and classic vehicles. A $7 fly-in breakfast will be available from 8 a.m. to noon and a short VIP program will be held at 10 a.m. "From airmail service and the South Dakota Air National Guard, to naming the airfield after Joe Foss and creation of the Airport Authority, the history of FSD is rich," Letellier said. "This is something to celebrate as well as look to the future." This also marks the first anniversary of the Joe Foss Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The mission of the CAF is education, so that generations of Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring freedom. "The Commemorative Air Force is the world's largest owner and operator of historic, privately owned aircraft. In keeping with our mission, we are proud to be a part of the 75th year celebration of FSD," said Squadron spokesman Rick Tupper. The event concludes with a hangar dance at 6 p.m. Tickets to dance are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Go to for more information. FSD 75TH ANNIVERSARY SATURDAY, SEPT. 13 Maverick Air Center, 4201 N. Maverick Pl. 8 a.m. Featuring free EAA Young Eagle rides, WWII and other vintage aircraft as well as classic vehicles 8 a.m.-Noon $7 fly-in breakfast available 10 a.m. Short VIP program 6 p.m. Hangar Dance, $15/advance or $20/door
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