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Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 1:47 am

With 1-stop service between IAD and TUL coming October 1st, I am planning to give Great Plains a try.

If you've flown on it, what comments do you have? Are they reliable? How's the ride on their Dorniers? They say their fares are competitive with WN. Are they?

What's their ICAO ID?

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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 9:21 am

I flew them once from OKC to ABQ and back. Very nice service and the 328Jet is very nice, as roomy (if not more so) as larger RJs.

They had donuts for the morning flight, and subway food for the ride home.
I would fly them again out of OKC, if my travels went to one of their cities.

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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 9:31 am

I hope they can make a go of it over at BLV. WN usually isnt a real predator when it comes to smaller carriers. But we also have the big bAAd wolf still in town,(which many people fail to even realize, alot of STL'er dont even pay attention to AA anymore) and they are a predator. Remember Legend? Hopefully AA won't give them any acknowledgement and let them do their thing over at MidAmerica.
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 9:52 am

ICAO identifier is GRP, used to be OZR reflecting the company's use of Ozark's operating certificate.
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 10:19 am

Mike Boyd addresses that very subject in this weeks edition at (see "Hot Flash")

We Got An Airline. Now Let's Find Someplace To Go

Great Plains Airlines has announced that it will start service at Mid-America Airport, located in bustling Mascoutah, Illinois, with flights to Washington, Chicago, and Tulsa/Oklahoma City. A perfect match. The airport has been a lost puppy (and lost cause) since it was opened several years ago, billed as the "reliever" to STL. Great Plains has been lost, too, thrashing around in and out of markets for the last year or so, trying without much luck to find a place for its two Dornier 328JET airliners.

But now the solution has been found. Start service to key destinations like Chicago and Washington from uncongested Mid-America, in a region with more cows than people. You betcha, Great Plains ought to have a field day against the two dozen or so daily flights from STL to Chicago, not to mention the easy-meat competition represented by the roughly 20 daily departures from STL to Washington. And both markets have that pushover carrier, Southwest.

This whole thing is shaping up like the story of Fred & Goliath. (Not mentioned in the Scriptures, Fred is one of the dozens of guys Goliath squashed flatter than a tortilla before David came along.) We're also seeing more proof that independent regional airlines are a great way to create tax loss carry-forwards. There just are not many places where market demand will fill such airplanes.

Great Plains, for example, is the outgrowth of the second-coming of Ozark. A couple years ago, some investors in Missouri thought it would be a great idea to recreate the wonders and glories of a bygone airline era. Yes! they exclaimed. We'll bring back Ozark! The white airplanes with the stylized green swallows on the tail. Consumers will be thrilled, the founders declared. There were the expected pronouncements like, "we're bringing back Ozark Airlines and the great service it offered to consumers in the Midwest!... everyone remembers the spirit of Ozark..."

As it turned out, consumers didn't give a rip. Ozark's legacy is about as relevant to Missouri as the Ming Dynasty.

No telling how much long green was spent getting a certificate and establishing the "new Ozark" with two - count them, just two - 32-seat Dornier jets. Then came the part the founders didn't think much about - like, where to fly. That was the first big slap of reality. The second was finding out that consumer excitement ran just slightly ahead of watching paint dry. Like the repeated attempts to resuscitate Pan Am, the unfortunate facts were that a) not many folks really remembered Ozark, b) those that did didn't much care, and most important, c) a name by itself is useless - an airline must fill a market need, not fond memories.

After several months of hard work bringing back the glory of the Ozark name to places like Joplin and Columbia, the airline passed on to other investors who received saleable Oklahoma tax credits in return for promising nonstop service to the East and West Coasts. So much for that, the state has found. They paid to get service to Washington and California. They got Mid-America Airport, gateway to the bright lights of Mascoutah, Illinois.

Mid-America and Great Plains. A real combination. An airport that has no real purpose and an airline looking for a place to go.

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 11:15 am

GP is very nice. I've been on their TUL-BNA service twice and was impressed. However, the first time was the wildest return home I've ever had. After lifting off from BNA (late), we had to return for a mechanical issue. We circled Nashville for 30 mins. to burn fuel, and then returned to Gate C13 and waited almost two hours while the issue was resolved. Then, we lifted off again and got within minutes of TUL, only to divert to OKC due to fog. From there, we were bussed back to TUL--arriving around 4:30 AM! The other three segments were very nice and uneventful. Service takes on a very personal touch!

I am a bit concerned about the new IAD service. Wasn't the plan to offer nonstop (not one-stop) service from TUL to IAD? Why stop at MidAmerica? Is the focus shifting away from TUL nonstops?
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 11:32 am

The 328Jet can't make IAD-TUL nonstop with a decent passenger load. If they manage to fill the IAD-BLV flights and when BLV requires an alternate, they'll be getting close to taking weight restrictions on that segment alone.
Ask why..
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 1:47 pm

OPNLguy, when pan am III was flying out of BLV, the planes were full to chicago and orlando. what messed everything up is when Pan Am was late on 75% of their flights due to aircraft shortages and MX problems. People not only in IL, but St. louis as well, are just fed up with the lambert crap. People flocked to BLV until Pan Am turned them running. Free parking and fast turns will do wonders. I worked at BLV for 10mths and people in the area love the airport. Great Plains will have a hellava time breaking into the Chicago market but if they do it right, they have a chance. I say Good Luck and i hope it works out!
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 3:20 pm

The rumor is that their next destination will be DFW or DAL, but I have yet to see any kind of confirmation on their website nor
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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 3:38 pm

One reason that AA might not want to engage in AAnti-competitive tactics towards Great Plains is that the airline is actually not entirely private sector. It was the result of a join private/public partnership involving the State of Oklahoma and various commercial groups in Tulsa and elsewhere. They purchased Ozark and developed the former airline into a new regional-jet operated carrier with the idea being to provide non-stop service from Tulsa to a variety of destinations. The fact that this airline enjoys heavy support from the state of Oklahoma might discourage AA from attempting to take them out, as this would doubtless worsen their relationship with the state government in Oklahoma and potentially cause trouble for them further down the line. Just a thought.

I should state, however, that this airline appears to be a small-scale regional airline in any case, and AA probably has more important priorities than removing it.

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RE: Great Plains - Comments?

Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:41 pm

>>>I say Good Luck and i hope it works out!


(I didn't write the article, I just posted it...  Big grin
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.

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