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City wont change commuter air service provider
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Great Bend won’t be seeing different flight service, since federal officials have rules that the community provider will continue to be Great Lakes Air, City Administrator Howard Partington reported recently.
Earlier this year, the Great Bend City Council approved setting SeaPort as its air service provider under the Essential Air Service program, hoping that a proposal from SeaPort would be acceptable by the federal officials. Recently the city learned that proposal was not accepted, and that Great Bend and Hays would remain with Great Lakes.
Great Lakes, had been listed as the city’s secondary choice, in case the SeaPort arrangement didn’t go through.
Airport Manager Martin Miller explained earlier this year that the Department of Transportation forwarded offers from five carriers for the community. He explained than that every two years, the DoT seeks proposals for EAS routes.
Generally, Great Bend, Dodge City, Garden City, Hays and Liberal have stuck with the same provider. Miller said that was not likely this time. “This is likely to split the five communities, unlike I’ve seen them split since I’ve been here,” he suggested.
If Great Bend had been able to reach an agreement with SeaPort, it would be more flights and improved service. It would also have included a connection through Dodge City that could start to provide flights to both Denver and Kansas City, which is something the community has sought.
Partington noted it is hoped that the Great Lakes proposal will be successful, because the company has shown an increase in numbers.