By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council backs effort to make air travel easier
Agreement would allow flyers to purchase one ticket and check bags once
Placeholder Image

In other business Monday night, the City Council:
• Approved abatements at: 117 Maple St., owned by Baudilio Hernandez, for accumulation of refuse; 300 Walnut St., owned by Mario Galindo, for accumulation of refuse; 429 Cedar St., owned by Leopoldo Matilde Espino, for accumulation of refuse and a motor vehicle nuisance; and 1022 Jefferson St., owned by Mary Baxter, for a motor vehicle nuisance.
 • Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Howard Partington.

In order to make air travel from Great Bend to points beyond seamless, the City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign a letter of support to the area’s congressional delegation backing a ticket and baggage agreement between SeaPort and Delta airlines.
 The letter was addressed to Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, and Congressman Tim Huelskamp.
Great Bend Municipal Airport Manager Martin Miller said there are 12 airports in seven states pushing for this arrangement, including Salina. The effort was spearheaded by officials at the Greenville, Tenn., airport.
In addition, Portland, Ore.-based, SeaPort, the Essential Air Service provider for Great Bend, is aggressively promoting this, Miller said.
According to Miller, if one now wishes to travel, they must purchase a ticket on SeaPort and then another ticket on a carrier of their choice to your final destination. Additionally, one cannot check luggage through to the final destination.
In other words, they would have to fly on SeaPort to a hub, retrieve their luggage and then carry it to the ticket counter at the hub where they are changing airlines and check their luggage there.
This agreement would allow SeaPort planes to park at Delta gates and the passengers to purchase one ticket and check baggage to the final destination, Miller said.
Why Delta? Miller said they feel that if they can get Delta to agree, the other airlines will follow.
“With access to the National Transportation System as a goal, we are asking Delta Air Lines to agree to a Ticket and Baggage (T&B) Agreement with SeaPort Airlines,” the letter reads. “This agreement would allow rural cities access to the National Transportation System.”
In order to make air service throughout the United States and beyond available to customers in small markets that were abandoned by larger airlines, this agreement is necessary, the letter said.
In another airport related matter, the council authorized Allison to sign authorization for two engineering agreements with Burns and McDonnell for projects at the facility.
Miller said the contracts authorize Burns & McDonnell to design specifications for a new airport fire truck and a building to house it. These documents are necessary for grant execution and will enable 90 percent funding by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The contract for the rescue and firefighting truck would cost $15,414 of which the city would be responsible for 10 percent. The second for the design for an aircraft rescue and firefighting building would cost $86,119 of which the city would be responsible for 10 percent.
The estimated total cost of the truck is $230,000 and the building $400,000. The FAA would pay 90 percent of both.
Having an airport rescue and firefighting truck is required by the FAA. The current truck is a 1978 Chevrolet and the feds are wanting Great Bend to make an upgrade, Miller said.
A new building is needed since the structure that houses the current truck will be too small for the new vehicle, Miller said. The existing building will be used for storage.