By Jenna Ebersole
A new general aviation company is set to arrive at Williston’s airport by next summer and will bring a new facility with lounge space, co-owner Tanner Overland said.
The Williston Jet Center will share some personnel with the Fargo Jet Center, with two Williston-based employees to start. Williston’s City Commission approved the company’s facility at last week’s meeting over some concerns about parking, but Overland said the 6,400 square foot building will include a pilot lounge and passenger terminal.
Set to open in the summer of 2013, the facility will not be connected with the existing airport building.
One area will include about 50 seats and a snack bar and will be open to passengers flying general aviation but not commercial flights, he said. The second half of the building will be the lounge for corporate passengers and will have flight-planning space for pilots.
Overland said he is a Williston native whose father farms near Alamo and whose mother is a local nurse. After he attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to study commercial aviation, he returned toWilliston and worked up until June with another charter company, doing flight instruction as well as taking photos through his Overland Aerial Photography company.
“I really got a sense for what the community needed as far as general aviation,” he said.
Through flying to other airports, Overland said he also had the chance to see how they operated and looks forward to increasing charter competition at Sloulin Field as oil companies continue to need ways to movetheir crews.
“What comes from competition is the quality of customer service,” he said.
The company will fly seven planes into the airport and is accepting applications for new staff members based while personnel come in from the eastern side of North Dakota initially.
“We wanted to be sure that we will have adequate staffing to meet the needs of the customer,” he said.
Overland said the building will also be transportable and ready to move in case the airport changes locations and he is hoping to create a different first impression at the Williston airport.
“I knew there was a calling for a greater service for general aviation here in Williston,” he said. “From day one when we open, we’re just going to greatly increase the quality of service at Sloulin Field.”