Brainerd airport shares flights with Bemidji amongst airline staffing shortages – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — These planning to fly out of Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport this fall and winter should purchase their tickets as early as attainable.

With a scarcity of pilots and different airline crew, SkyWest Airways — which operates each day Delta flights out of Brainerd’s municipal airport — mixed providers with Bemidji. This implies two of Brainerd’s flights every day will even cease in Bemidji, Airport Director Steve Wright defined.

“So the flight will take off from Minneapolis, drop passengers off in Brainerd, then the flight will proceed on into Bemidji,” he mentioned. “After which the subsequent morning, that flight will then load passengers up in Bemidji, cease by Brainerd, decide Brainerd passengers up after which fly to Minneapolis.”

Whereas Brainerd passengers is not going to be impacted by way of the occasions of their flights, airplane capability might develop into a priority. Every flight carries 50 passengers, however these seats now must be shared with the Bemidji market.

Traditionally, although, Wright mentioned Brainerd’s flights solely see about 50% capability within the winter months, which is why SkyWest believes it will likely be capable of deal with each markets on one plane.

“It doesn’t essentially change an excessive amount of for the Brainerd market itself, except for we need to make it possible for our market is ready to buy the tickets that it must,” Wright mentioned. “And to date, I haven’t heard any unfavorable studies that tickets aren’t out there for the Brainerd to Minneapolis route.”

People wait to board a flight.

Individuals take a Delta flight early morning Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, on the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd will nonetheless have a day flight most days devoted solely to the Brainerd market.

Whereas Wright mentioned the change isn’t too regarding for the winter months when considering the standard capability, enterprise on the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport continues to develop.

“We’ve been seeing very constructive progress, and so clearly anytime that capability is decreased is regarding,” he mentioned.

August 2022, for instance, was the airport’s finest August on report, Wright mentioned, even surpassing pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers by way of passengers boarding flights in Brainerd.

“It’s a terrific story that persons are flying out and in of the Brainerd airport and making use of the providers which might be right here,” Wright mentioned. “And so, clearly any time capability is minimize or lowered in a interval of progress, we have to take pause and suppose via, ‘Okay, how can we develop this market?’”

One other wrench within the airline trade, Wright mentioned, is the rising price of tickets with inflation and growing gas costs. Systemwide modifications to airline scheduling software program all through the trade, he mentioned, is a further issue to bear in mind.

In some instances, Wright defined, passengers who seek for a flight from Brainerd to Las Vegas, for instance, won’t see an out there ticket in any respect if the flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas is full.

“So we’ve gone in and accomplished some analysis ourselves on simply, ‘OK, let’s play this situation out a little bit bit,’” he mentioned.

By wanting up separate tickets — one from Brainerd to Minneapolis and one other from Brainerd to Las Vegas — Wright mentioned there are sometimes seats out there on the primary leg, although passengers may need to take a look at different choices to get to their last vacation spot.

“So when you’re on their reservation software program or whatnot, and also you’re coming with sort of a clean stare on the display screen, otherwise you’re not getting the outcome that you could be need the primary time, it might be worthwhile to separate your journey out and take a look at completely different concepts to see if you may get completely different tickets or completely different combos to your last vacation spot, as a result of the system does have completely different parameters once you’re in there attempting to do a flight straight from Brainerd to the place your last vacation spot is,” he mentioned.

However even with the added snags, Brainerd’s market continues to develop, and Wright suggested those that need to benefit from the airport’s providers later this yr to plan their journeys as early as attainable to make sure a clean course of.

He suggests use of Delta’s cellular app to see completely different flight eventualities earlier than reserving or Google Flights to check price choices and journey dates.

“Clearly, the extra versatile on journey, you’ll get the higher value proper now, and since daily is a distinct day — that’s for certain — so far as journey goes and scheduling and whatnot for airways,” he mentioned. “… And when you do know that you just’re going to journey, I’d say safe the ticket as early as attainable as a result of ticket costs proper now and within the close to future proceed to extend.”

The flight sharing schedule can be examined after this winter as journey numbers decide up within the Brainerd lakes space, and Wright mentioned airport employees is actively searching for extra air service improvement alternatives to determine learn how to accommodate the rising market.

“The Brainerd lakes market is telling story,” he mentioned. “It’s telling a narrative of progress, a narrative of journey, a narrative of those who do transfer across the nation and the world out of our little Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.”

For Brainerd flight data, go to


People check in for boarding.

Individuals take a Delta flight early morning Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, on the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

THERESA BOURKE could also be reached at or 218-855-5860. Observe her on Twitter at

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