News Transportation

EAU TO MSP? Twin Cities Flights Likely When New Airline Begins at E.C. Airport

three airlines seek OK to offer commercial service to Eau Claire

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

UP, UP, AND AWAY. A new airline may soon be serving the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire.
UP, UP, AND AWAY. A new airline may soon be serving the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire.

Commercial flights direct to Minneapolis are likely to return to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport when a new airline is selected to serve Eau Claire in the near future.

Since 2010, SkyWest Airlines have provided commercial flights from Eau Claire to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Before that, Mesaba Airlines served the airport with flights to the Twin Cities.

After SkyWest Airlines announced earlier this year that it intends to end service to Eau Claire, the U.S. Department of Transportation asked other airlines to submit proposals. Three responded: Sun Country Airlines, Southern Airways Express, and Boutique Air. The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Commission will consider their proposals at its meeting on Friday, May 20.

Before that meeting, the airport commission is seeking feedback from the public on the proposals through an online form. The commission will make a recommendation of one of the proposed carriers to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which will make the final decision.

SkyWest – a regional carrier that operates under the United Airlines banner – said in March that it wanted to drop service to 29 airports, including the one in Eau Claire. However, SkyWest said its service won’t end until a new carrier begins offering commercial flights.

Here are details on the three airlines that could serve the Eau Claire airport:

Sun Country Airlines 

Sun Country Airlines proposed year-round twice weekly service in a Boeing 737-800 (183 seats) to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), along with seasonal non-stop service to large leisure destinations (Fort Myers/Nov-Apr, Orlando/May-Aug, and Las Vegas/Oct-Nov). The MSP service will allow EAU passengers to make connections to the Sun Country network of destination airports and the seasonal service will operate during periods of peak demand. 

Southern Airways Express 

Southern Airways Express proposed daily departures to both MSP and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in a single engine, turboprop, Cessna Grand Caravan (nine seats). Southern has ticketing and baggage agreements with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. 

Boutique Air 

Boutique Air proposed daily departures to MSP in a single engine, turboprop, Pilatus PC-12 (eight or nine seats). Boutique Air has a ticketing and baggage agreement and code share agreement with United Airlines and a ticketing and baggage agreement with American Airlines. 

To learn more about the airline transition, check out this FAQ on the airport website. To give feedback to the Airport Commission, follow this link.