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Denver Air to serve route between MSP and Thief River Falls

MSP Airport's Terminal 1 will get a new Essential Air Service airline – Denver Air Connection – that will fly between MSP and Thief River Falls, Minn., 12 times a week beginning June 1. Denver Air succeeds Boutique Air, which has been flying to the city in northwestern Minnesota since 2016.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the two-year contract to Denver Air in February.

For flights to Thief River Falls, Denver Air plans to use either a 50-seat Embraer EMB-145 or a 30-seat Dornier 328 Jet, which are both larger than the eight-seat Pilatus PC 12 flown by Boutique.

Boutique will still have a presence at MSP. In August, Boutique will begin providing service between MSP and Ironwood, Mich.

Following deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, the U.S. Department of Transportation created the Essential Air Service program to preserve service to smaller communities by subsidizing airlines that fly to these markets.

Denver Air, a subsidiary of Key Lime Air, operates out of Denver International Airport and serves smaller destinations in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Denver Air also has an interline agreement with United Airlines, which will allow passengers from Thief River Falls to check their bags all the way to their final destinations when transferring through MSP.