DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Pen Air discontinued flights to Dodge City and Liberal this week, two months earlier than expected.
Now, those communities are without air travel for the foreseeable future.
The Pen Air signs that hung in Dodge City airport are now gone.
The waiting room is empty. A few employees remain.
“Now, we have to find other ways to travel and drive, and it’s just a big hassle,” said Dodge City Regional Airport Manager Corey Keller.
When Pen Air declared bankruptcy in August, they were supposed to continue service for 60 to 90 days.
“Last week, they requested that due to some pilots leaving,” said Keller, “that they would no longer be able to fly the Midwest region.”
The last flight departed on Sunday. Anyone with a canceled trip and related fees should be getting a refund.
“Those are all questions to take up with Pen Air to see if they will reimburse any additional costs that go along with that,” said Keller.
Until this week, Pen Air served Dodge and Liberal in a triangular route with Denver, but that could change with a new airline.
“That was just a route that our consultant in Pen Air figured would work,” explained Keller, saying the two airports are not intrinsically linked.
Tuesday is the deadline for airlines to submit their proposals to service Pen Air’s communities to the US Department of Transportation.
“After today we should see who has rebid our airport and go through the process and start picking an airline to come in,” said Keller.
Officials say flights could resume as early as December 1, in time for the holiday season. The selection process could last through February.
A lot of factors will affect which airline takes over, from planned runway renovations in Dodge City to oversight from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
KSN will follow the story as it develops.