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Posts: 741
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2000 2:06 am

Great Plains - Tues. Is Judgment Day

Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:10 am

The future of Great Plains Airlines may be decided in court on Tuesday

Tuesday could be a make or break day for struggling Great Plains Airlines.

A leasing company wants to repossess three of Great Plains aircraft. A judge will hear arguments on that Tuesday afternoon.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says if they lose those 3 planes, which will leave them with the 2 jets they started the company with. And one of those was not flying at last report.

We talked with some local leaders about Great Plains possible demise. From the beginning, Great Plains never quite stayed on course. The original plan was to provide direct, non-stop service from Tulsa to both coasts, to improve business development. But that never quite got off the ground.

Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller voted against the idea when she was on the Tulsa City Council. "I support public-private partnerships, but I support 50-50 partnerships, and I just didn't feel we had that at the time with Great Plains and I was concerned."

Now that concern seems well-placed. It's still too soon to count Great Plains out completely. But Tulsa city councilman Sam Roop says it doesn't look good. Still, he says Tulsa had to try something. "I think we should keep trying to create some direct flights the same as other big cities. I think it's important we do if we want to be a city that stays on the map."

Former State Representative Russ Roach, who was an early Great Plains supporter, agrees. "In this day and age, for business particularly, being that remote and having to go through too many other connections and the extra time delay its very disadvantage for Tulsa and Oklahoma City."

What to do if Great Plains fails though is anyone's guess. Some think that if the market is there, someone will step in. "If this carrier doesn't do it, hopefully someone else eventually will."

We called Great Plains Airlines to see if they can possibly survive with just one or maybe two aircraft. We did not hear back from them.

We are the people of American Airlines. And we know why you fly.
Posts: 253
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2004 3:26 am

RE: Great Plains - Tues. Is Judgment Day

Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:01 am

Very interesting piece....I remember reading the first article ever in the "Tulsa World" back in 98 or 99 about the original plan-to serve TUL+OKC to WAS/NYC. I was eager to see this service take off as I have ties to both cities. I jumped at the opportunity to fly Great Plains, (operated by Ozark), the 2nd week of service and later took flights with Great Plains to ABQ and COS. I do agree with the above article that they failed to deliver on their promise to the Tulsa County Govt, which put up valuable real estate at TUL airport as colateral, which may be lost if GP folds. I was optimistic about Great Plains, but even had they gone forward with the original business plan it may have still had the same outcome.
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2000 2:06 am

RE: Great Plains - Tues. Is Judgment Day

Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:08 am

Judge compels Great Plains Airlines to return jets
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy judge ordered Great Plains Airlines Tuesday to return its three operating aircraft to the leasing agents, casting doubt on the Tulsa-based carrier's ability to survive.

The order forces Great Plains to cancel its charter service by Saturday and to review all options in its business plan including changing its Chapter 11 reorganization filing into Chapter 7 liquidation.

"I think you have to review all options at this point," chief executive officer David Johnson said after a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tulsa.

Great Plains will return the three Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprops to Wings Aircraft Finance, and its servicer Debis Air Finance USA Inc., by Saturday. They say the airline owes them $384,691 in back lease payments.

The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dana Rasure, which Great Plains did not fight, will leave the carrier with just two Fairchild Dornier 328 jets.

Those planes have been grounded since the airline filed for bankruptcy Jan. 23 when all scheduled flights were suspended. Union Planters Bank, which financed the planes, has asked for them to be returned, Johnson said.

"We anticipate returning the aircraft," he said.

Great Plains continued its busy charter operations after filing for bankruptcy and flies many Big 12 Conference basketball teams, including Oklahoma State University.

Johnson said the company has not decided what will happen to its remaining 51 employees. The airline laid off 100 workers when it filed for bankruptcy.

He offered no timetable for the company's review of options, which will include seeking financing for more aircraft to continue as solely a charter carrier or as a scheduled service airline.

We are the people of American Airlines. And we know why you fly.
Topic Author
Posts: 741
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2000 2:06 am

RE: Great Plains - Tues. Is Judgment Day

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:10 pm

KOTV6 news just announced that Great Plains will shut down its operations altogether on Saturday, and that they'll be returning their two remaining (and already grounded) jets.
We are the people of American Airlines. And we know why you fly.

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