By Tim Leeds
Ryan Albertson of Havre recently took over as Havre station manager for Big Sky Airlines.
Albertson, who worked for the Havre Flying Service in 1998 and has attended courses at the Aviation Maintenance Center in Helena, assumed the manager duties on May 15.
In addition to attending management meetings in Billings, where the airline is based, Albertson works the counter at the station, including taking reservations, ticketing, loading and unloading passengers, luggage and freight and filling out required FAA paperwork.
Albertson said the duties are really a one-man job. He splits the shifts with the airline's other Havre employee, Bill Arvin.
Albertson started with Big Sky Air on January 7 of this year as a customer service agent. He said he was hired to take over as manager, but had to undergo a probationary period and background check before getting the position.
Albertson said he hopes to make some improvements at the airport. He has already painted his office in the terminal, and he and Arvin are going to donate the labor to paint the main area of the terminal as well. He said he has hopes to try to make other improvements as well.
Albertson said the Havre station serves most of the Hi-Line for Big Sky Air. He said Glasgow and Kalispell are the nearest northern stations. The Havre station has flights to and from Billings, with a stop in Lewistown en route.
He said the main activity for the airline is passengers, although there is some use for mail and some freight shipped as well. Albertson said most airlines require passengers arrive at least an hour before take-off time. He said he only asks for at least a half-an-hour. He said he has been able to get passengers on board when they arrive only fifteen minutes ahead of time, but at least a half-hour would be better.
Flights stop in Havre seven days a week, barring cancellations. They arrive at 7:30 p.m. and depart at 6 a.m. every day. There are also flights arriving at 3:30 p.m. and departing at 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The cost of a flight to Billings is $79 one-way, or $158 round-trip, on a stand-by basis. With a 5 day advance ticket, the cost is $59 one-way and $118 round trip. There are also discounts for medical flights and 5-day advance senior fares.