FARGO A Fargo aviation company has launched a charter service designed to shorten the span between the economies of eastern and western North Dakota.
Fargo Jet Center is offering aircraft shuttle flights from Fargo to Minot, Williston and Dickinson.
Darren Hall, vice president of marketing, said the company has flown a few shuttles already and continues to schedule flights as the need arises. When someone calls to request a flight, the center contacts its customers to let them know that a flight is being scheduled. Once at least three passengers sign up, either from the same or different companies, the flight is booked to go. The cost from Fargo to Minot is $675 a passenger.
Passengers de-board in Fargo from a Fargo Jet Center charter flight.
The center flies a Beechcraft King Air C-90 and B-200 turboprop aircraft, which seat five to seven passengers.
Hall said the number of companies that might benefit from such a service is turning out to be more than the flight center initially expected.
"It's not one industry," he said.
The oil activity in western North Dakota has created opportunities for everyone from contractors to financial institutions in eastern North Dakota. Gaining a method of quick access back and forth is key to an organization's efficiency, said Hall, a Minot native familiar with the 265-mile drive to Fargo. Hall formerly worked for Pietsch Flying Service in Minot before moving to Fargo in 1991.
Several hours on the road also can be draining on people who already are being taxed by the pace of the energy activity, he said.
In contrast, a flight leaving Fargo at 7 a.m. can be in Minot shortly after 8 a.m. The return flight departs at 5:30 p.m. and lands in Fargo just after 6:30 p.m. A trip between Fargo and Williston is only an hour and a half, while almost no time is lost in flying to Dickinson because of the later time zone.
Hall said the shuttle service is ideal for businesses that don't quite have a need for their own corporate jets or want to try out a service before deciding whether to invest in their own.
"The airplane is a tool for the company, and if used properly, it can push you ahead of your competition," he said.
Hall said as business picks up, Fargo Jet Center would like to provide charters for people in the west who need to go east. People already are making that trip on land so it's just a matter of establishing enough demand for air travel to support a shuttle service, he said.
Fargo Jet Center was founded in 1995 to provide a variety of aviation services, including aircraft management, maintenance and sales. It operates a fleet of charter aircraft and a flight school. For more information, people can contact the center at 373-8816.