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Delegation Announces $675,000 Grant For Potential Flight From Fargo To Phoenix
August 25, 2005

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Washington - Senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and Congressman Earl Pomeroy announced today that Fargo's Hector International Airport has received a Small Community Air Service Development grant aimed at launching a new low-fare flight from Fargo to Phoenix.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) grant is worth $675,000, and is meant to allow the Fargo airport to market and support other costs of implementing the new flight. The delegation said the airport sought the grant for the flight to boost business travel opportunities between North Dakota and Arizona.

In April, the delegation sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, asking the agency to award one of its Small Community Air Service Development grants to Fargo. The delegation argued that the Fargo-Moorhead business community would benefit greatly from daily jet service to Phoenix, and connections through that hub, and that the region severely lacks low-cost air service options.

The grant was aimed at enticing America West to operate the flight. However, given the recent changes affecting the airline industry - including America West's pending merger with US Airways - the delegation said they will work with the Department of Transportation, America West and Fargo airport officials to make the flight a reality.

"This grant means North Dakotans should get a boost in much-needed low-cost air service, as well as a terrific opportunity to expand business relationships in the Phoenix area," the delegation said in a joint statement. "With the foundation in place for this new flight from Fargo to Phoenix, and other connections through that hub, we now intend to work with all the parties involved to make the flight a reality."

"The DOT announcement is good news that will enhance our ability to meet the needs of the traveling public from Fargo to one of our most popular destinations, Phoenix," said Shawn Dobberstein, Executive Director of the Hector International Airport. "We're hopeful that when America West officials review the grant announcement, it will help them initiate the air service between Phoenix and Fargo. This flight could serve not only the business community, but a number of North Dakotans who vacation in the greater Phoenix area."

The grant is one of 37 awards totaling $19 million that DOT is providing in an effort to improve air service in smaller communities. The DOT grants are financed with funds appropriated by Congress.


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