Airline, TSA crews reassigned
By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
Although Great Lakes Airlines ceased service at Hays Regional Airport on March 31, a lone airline employee remains.
Brandon Goering, station manager, said he will remain at his post until Monday. The three other employees had the opportunity to transfer airports.
Six Transportation Security Administration agents temporarily are re-assigned to other airports until service resumes in Hays, said Keith Osborn, TSA’s federal security director for Kansas.
Goering, who has been with the airline for approximately six years, said he is tasked with packing and answering passengers’ questions. He has suggested customers use Great Lakes’ other airports, Dodge City Regional Airport and Kearney Regional Airport.
Despite the carrier’s woes with flight cancellations, Goering said the airport’s staff tried to help by calling passengers ahead of time to re-book flights and providing other assistance.
“I feel like the people that we ended up with worked very hard, well beyond their job description, to at least try and serve the passengers as best we can,” he said.
The station manager does not know if the new carrier, SkyWest Airlines, will hire him.
“I would like to, that’s the goal,” he said. “I’d like to stay in Hays and continue to service the passengers here, and I’ve developed a relationship with a lot of people here.”
Federal changes to co-pilot qualifications caused the airline’s pilot shortages. Goering hoped the company’s recent problems do not define its legacy.
“I know Great Lakes has been around for about, what now, 15 years servicing Hays. And up until these last few rough months, I think they’ve done a good job, and I just hope people remember more than the last six months,” he said.
The city of Hays has two employees at the facility while Hays Aircraft LLC has eight staffers.
Passengers who had booked flights through the carrier can call its customer service line at (800) 554-5111.