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Great Lakes takes off, departs from service at Great Bend

3/14/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

As the city of Hays waits to hear if Great Lakes Airlines will continue to be the carrier for Hays Regional Airport, the company has discontinued service at Great Bend Municipal Airport.

Great Lakes withdrew a month before its contract expired, said Martin Miller, manager of the Great Bend airport.

"It wasn't a major shock because service was so degraded here over the last several months anyway that we were not surprised by the announcement," Miller said.

Robert Johnson, Hays airport manager, said Great Lakes has not communicated anything to him about changes.

"To the best of our knowledge, there is no changes in service at Hays," he said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's decision about the Hays airport's carrier contract is "overdue," Johnson said.

Toby Dougherty, Hays city manager, said the development demonstrates the carrier's lack of reliability.

"I think it's reflective of Great Lakes' overall viability as a carrier when the fact that they are in a position to where they can't provide basic service to the markets they have contracts to provide to where they're having to pull out of those markets," Dougherty said.

The news does not improve the city's opinion of the carrier.

"It doesn't instill faith in Great Lakes for our market, I can tell you that," he said.

The airline's rate for canceled and delayed flights in February was 61 percent, according to a report by the city. Cancellations were 43 percent.