GREAT BEND, Kansas – Great Bend and Hays leaders say complaints of unreliable service from Great Lakes Airlines have been building for months at the airports in Great Bend and Hays.
Now, the airline has left both airports early leaving them without service until later this spring and summer.
“It’s been on a downward spiral for several months, and it’s been slow,” said Martin Miller, Great Bend Municipal Airport Manager. “I’m sure the reliability of our service has affected local travelers, and we’re anxious to get back to a reliable schedule.”
Great Lakes Airline says that the lack of pilots has led them to pull their service early, and Miller says that has caused a lot of canceled flights over the past few months
“There’s been obviously some complaints, and there’s just no convenience factor when you don’t know if your flight is going to arrive or not,” said Miller.
Neither Great Bend nor Hays knows when their new airline service will be starting.
For now, the closest place for people to get flights is over an hour away in either Salina, Dodge City or Wichita.”
“Air service is really something that a lot of people take for granted,” said I.D. Creech, I.D. City of Hays Public Works Director. “They may not get it a whole lot, but when they want it, they want it, and the inability to provide that service for the next month or two is going to be a bit of a burden on our community and our area.”
Hays will continue to offer flights to Denver, but Great Bend is changing their flights from Denver to Kansas City and Wichita.
“I think we’ll have to anticipate that there will be some reluctance, but we’ll have a much higher frequency and a much lower fare so we think it’ll help,” said Miller. “We’ll have to battle the preconceived reliability issue for a while.”
Great Bend Municipal Airport is expecting Seaport Airlines to start sometime in May.
Hays Municipal Airport is hoping that Sky West Airlines will start service in July.