Aviation small aircraft taking off

Aviation Systems Plan


The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) is excited to embark on the 2020 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan (SDSASP). This study reviews the advancement in system performance from the previous study, evaluates the effectiveness of the performance measures and targets established in 2010, assesses the issues impacting South Dakota aviation, and plans 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 guides decisions and educates those who oversee the system, including local, state and Federal policy makers, the South Dakota Aeronautics Commission and SDDOT staff. The plan helps stakeholders 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 includes 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.

An Economic Impact Study (EIS) assessed 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 were looked at specifically to identify the aviation economic impact of these events each year. Each of the 56 system airports was evaluated and provided an individual report of their economic contribution. In addition to quantitative analysis, a qualitative approach was also 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 was 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.


A System Plan Report (which includes the EIS findings) was 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 was provided in the form of a Geographic Information System (GIS) based computer application, which supports multiple functions of the SDDOT Office of Aeronautics. This tool is used to automate the storage, management, retrieval, and reporting of data from the SDSASP; thereby allowing the office to engage in “continuous system planning” by running updated performance analysis. Stakeholder involvement throughout the process helped validate the analyses as well as the final plan and associated recommendations.

South Dakota Aviation System Map

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