Posted 4 months ago
By John Axtell
Anderson, his Alliance counterpart J-D Cox, and Alliance airport manager Lynn Placek all attended the conference, which Anderson says gave officials from nearly 4 dozen airports a chance to compare notes and visit with almost two dozen airlines.
Chadron and Alliance are both served by Great Lakes Airlines under a 2-year federal Essential Air Service subsidy contract signed last May, but the airline…citing a pilot shortage…dropped one of the two daily flights to Denver and all Saturday service for both cities.
Anderson, Cox, and Placek went to the Tulsa conference to explore other airline options and Anderson says he found significant interest in the northern Panhandle.
Neither Chadron or Alliance had been represented at the conference before, and Anderson says several of the airlines were unaware of the service cuts or just how unhappy the cities are with them.
Although he did find interest among several airlines, Anderson doesn’t see Chadron or Alliance being able to change carriers until the contract is up for bid a year from now.
It’s a different situation for the Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff, which is also served by Great Lakes under an EAS contract and has seen as high percentage of its flights cancelled since last fall.
The Scottsbluff EAS contract expires this year and the airport has been actively courting one or more potential replacements for Great Lakes.