The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) is excited to embark on the 2020 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan (SDSASP). This study will review the advancement in system performance from the previous study, evaluate the effectiveness of the performance measures and targets established in 2010, assess the issues impacting South Dakota aviation, and plan for improvements in infrastructure and services that are needed to meet the needs of aviation system users now and in the future.

The 2020 SDSASP will guide decisions and educate those who oversee the system, including local, state and Federal policy makers, the South Dakota Aeronautics Commission and SDDOT staff. When the study is completed, stakeholders will understand how each airport contributes to their communities and the system, the system’s financial needs, and the economic value and potential growth derived from South Dakota’s airports.

Purpose, Goals, and Outcomes


The purpose of the 2020 SDSASP is to collectively assess the conditions and needs of the 56 public-use airports included in the system and to identify the system’s capability to meet current and future demand. This will include examining current state and federal standards, policies, procedures, and trends to aid the SDDOT Office of Aeronautics in successfully developing and planning for the state’s airport system as a whole.

As a part of the 2020 SDSASP, an Economic Impact Study (EIS) will assess the annual impact of the aviation industry in South Dakota. Key economic generating aviation activities such as agricultural spraying, pheasant hunting, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be looked at specifically to identify the aviation economic impact of these events each year. Each of the 56 system airports will be evaluated and provided an individual report of their economic contribution. In addition to quantitative analysis, a qualitative approach will also be used to highlight real life stories of how aviation impacts residents, businesses, and visitors in South Dakota. The quantitative and qualitative assessments of the economic impact of the aviation system will help communicate the benefits of airports and validate the continued public investment in South Dakota’s airports.


Core to developing a system plan is establishing goals and measurable actions to achieve those goals; this is the first step in system plan development. Three primary goals were identified through collaboration between the SDDOT Office of Aeronautics and the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and were carried forward from the 2010 SDSASP. They are:

  • Safety and Security – To provide a safe and secure system of airports.
  • Maintenance & Development of Infrastructure – To provide an airport system that meets current and future user needs.
  • Accessibility to Users – To provide a system of airports that is accessible from the ground and air.

These goals are accompanied by system measures and indicators that were developed with stakeholder input, as well as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. System measures and indicators are used to benchmark system performance in achieving the targets necessary to support the goals of the system, and ultimately, inform the recommendations that result when a system plan is completed.


At the end of the SDSASP process, a System Plan Report (which includes the EIS findings) will be delivered to SDDOT that will help guide the continued development of South Dakota’s airport system to meet current and future user needs. In addition to this report, a System Plan Tool will be provided in the form of a Geographic Information System (GIS) based computer application, which is intended to support multiple functions of the SDDOT Division of Aeronautics. This tool will be used to automate the storage, management, retrieval, and reporting of data from the SDSASP; thereby allowing the Division to engage in “continuous system planning” by running updated performance analysis. Stakeholder involvement throughout the process will help to validate the analyses as well as the final plan and associated recommendations.

South Dakota Aviation System Map

Project Updates Blog

Update #5

The SDSASP project team is excited to announce the conclusion of the 2020 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan and Aviation Economic Impact Study (2020 SDSASP and AEIS)! The final findings of the 2020 SDSASP and AEIS were presented to the South Dakota Aeronautics Commission in June. The Commissioners, the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT), and the general public were in attendance at the meeting and had an... Read More

Update #4

The SDSASP Project Team is excited to share some of the great progress made on the 2020 SDSASP since the last update in November 2019. Upon completion of initial system performance findings, the Project Team hosted the final Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting in Pierre. The PAC meeting provided an  opportunity to engage with key project stakeholders to determine appropriate future performance targets for the system. These targets were... Read More