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Eau Claire could soon see new airline as 3 companies submit bids

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Chippewa Valley Regional Airport sign

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Three airlines are seeking to serve the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

This comes after SkyWest Airlines filed a notice in March to terminate service to Eau Claire and 28 other airports due to a pilot shortage.

The three airlines who submitted proposals include Sun Country Airlines, Southern Airways Express, and Boutique Air.

Sun Country Airlines is proposing year-round twice weekly service in a Boeing 737-800 that can seat 186 people to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, along with seasonal nonstop service to large leisure destinations like Fort Myers, Orlando, and Las Vegas.

Southern Airways Express is proposing daily departures to both MSP and Chicago O'Hare International Airport in a 9-seat plane.

And Boutique Air is proposing daily departures to MSP in an 8 or 9-seat plane.

SkyWest, an airline carrier that provides flights through United Airlines, is currently the sole provider of flights to and from the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

"We've really built up our market and it's unfortunate that this pilot shortage issue is not allowing us to continue as we have in the past with the traditional daily scheduled regional jet service, but we are grateful that more than one carrier was interested in our market," said Charity Zich, airport director of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Commission will have a meeting on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 a.m. to discuss the three bids and provide a letter of support on behalf of the community in favor of the best proposal.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will consider community input, but the DOT will ultimately make the decision on which carrier will service our market.

To learn more about the potential airline services, click/tap here.

If you'd like to share your thoughts on the proposals, submit a comment here.

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