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RST receives federal grant, with goal of getting flights to western hub

Rochester Airport
Rochester International Airport received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Transportation.

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's a big day for Rochester International Airport.

It is receiving a huge federal grant aimed toward getting new nonstop flights to a western hub.

RST made the announcement in a news release Thursday morning. The Department of Transportation is giving RST $750,000 through the Small Community Air Service Development Program.

"Just looking at our base numbers, people that do come here to do business, westward movement makes an absolute sense," Rochester International Airport Executive Director John Reed said.

Reed said the expansion means more business for the airport and our region. "We have four gates we will add a fifth this Spring. Construction will start as soon as the frost is out of the ground."

The airport annually sees more 300,000 travelers. With the addition of a new route that number could go up by 20,000 to 30,000 extra people.

It is not yet clear which airline will be flying the route, but one thing is certain for the future of the airport. "I do see us growing and continuing to grow our hub connectivity again so people have an easier way to get to Rochester," Reed added.

RST got the same grant back in 2012, which eventually led to nonstop Delta flights to Atlanta. Airlines ultimately make the choice on which routes they serve.

RST nonstop flights currently go to Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis with three major airlines serving those destinations.

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