A new executive terminal for private jets is now open at Rapid City Regional Airport.
With a price tag of $1.6 million, the new terminal was built next to Westjet’s older facility where the old fire station used to sit. It is a lot bigger with all the comforts of home.
There’s a pilot’s lounge, a special room for flight planning, a children’s play area, vending machines in a kitchen, and a conference room if needed. It opened July 30, 2015, barely in time for the all the extra jet traffic that comes with the big Sturgis motorcycle rally.
Rydstrom says as the rally grew, Westjet could not accommodate all the people. “We could handle the airplanes but we really couldn’t handle the people very well. They needed a better place to come into and this is why we designed this building kind of like a home as opposed to an industrial aviation center.”
It’s truly a family business. Wife and pilot Linda Rydsrom designed and decorated the new terminal. Daughter Miranda, who is also a pilot. will phase into the business as her parents eventually phase out.
Westjet CEO Don Rydstrom says Westjet’s new executive terminal is a great addition to the flying public and worth the investment. “It’s worth it in the long run, number one. And number two, we’ll recover it with business coming in.”
“Basically we concentrate primarily with refueling the aircraft, including the airlines at the terminal,” explains Rydstrom. “We also focus on maintenance of airplanes in our old building. As the aviation business grows, the (investment) recovery will come from those two sources primarily.”
Don Rydstrom bought the business 37 years ago. “This building was a big step for us and will be for a while, but we thought it was necessary particularly to get more general aviation traffic in here and take care of our customers a lot better than we have before because the other building was very small. When a big aircraft comes in, we can hold all of the crew and all of the passengers and their baggage.”
In the very near future the Rydstroms are planning to build another hanger south of terminal since so many pilots want cover for their aircraft, from the snow in the winter and the hail in the summer.