A330323X
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Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:56 am

The DOT has selected carrier proposals to provide subsidized Essential Air Service at five Nebraska communities: Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, North Platte, and Scottsbluff. Great Lakes is currently the incumbent carrier at all five communities.

Great Lakes has been reselected to provide service at Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff. Each community will receive 3x daily nonstop roundtrips to Denver using the Beech 1900D aircraft. All service will operate as Great Lakes Airlines, and will also carry the codes of United Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

Air Midwest has been selected to provide service at Grand Island and McCook. Air Midwest will offer 2x daily roundtrips on a McCook-Grand Island-Omaha routing, as well as 1x daily nonstop Grand Island-Kansas City roundtrip, with all service using the Beech 1900D aircraft. All service will operate as US Airways Express, and at least the MCI flights (perhaps the OMA flights as well) should also carry the code of Midwest Airlines. It also appears from Air Midwest's proposal that they will begin operating OMA-MCI flights as US Airways Express; while they have done so in the past, that service currently operates as Mesa Airlines.

The combined annual subsidy for the five cities will be $4,689,767, a decrease of $543,520 from the current annual subsidy of $5,233,287.

The order is available here.

Great Lakes, Air Midwest, and Big Sky each submitted a slew of proposals for the five cities, in various combinations and different service patterns. Mesaba also submitted one proposal for Grand Island. There were far too many different options for me to bother to summarize them here, but they're available in summary in the DOT order, or in detail in the respective dockets.
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HPRamper
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:59 am

I didn't know the subsidy would go down. How does this happen especially with fuel prices still sky-high?
 
RyDawg82
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:09 am

Thanks for the update on this....Glad to see BFF will retain ZK.....Interesting to think of McCook as a US Airways Express destination....

Will be interesting to see if ZK continues using the EMB 120 into BFF along with the B1900D....Their proposal states the Beech, however the 120 has been making these runs as of late...

Thanks again,
Ryan
You can take the pup out of Alaska, but you can't take the Alaska out of the pup.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:28 am

In a way, I'm glad GQ didn't get it...We're having enough issues with our current fleet...I think we need some time to get everything running as smoothly was it was last summer before expanding too much. I wonder though, is Great Lakes finally going to shut up and stop contesting our bid into PIR?
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GGpillow
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:58 am

I thought Big Sky said they were not going to serve PIR because ZK said they will remain in the market without subsidy.
 
A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:07 am

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I didn't know the subsidy would go down. How does this happen especially with fuel prices still sky-high?

It's primarily because Air Midwest's annual subsidy for Grand Island and McCook is over $400,000 less than what Great Lakes was receiving to serve the markets. Also, Great Lakes' subsidy for Kearney went down a bit, since Kearney and Grand Island will now have complementary instead of competing service; this was partially offset, though, by increased subsidy at North Platte and Scottsbluff, which is indeed likely due to fuel prices.

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 3):
I wonder though, is Great Lakes finally going to shut up and stop contesting our bid into PIR?

I'm not sure what you mean. It's all over and done with, everything's been decided.

Big Sky was awarded the EAS contract, and then Great Lakes said they'd serve the markets subsidy-free after all. Even though it's really not fair to anyone involved, there's nothing anyone can do about it. The DOT isn't going to pay Big Sky to run the flights if the community can get free service elsewhere; Big Sky, for its part, wouldn't even want to run the flights for the subsidy it was awarded anyway, since it would have fewer passengers than it had projected due to the competing Great Lakes service.

While it does suck, it's also nothing unique. Air Midwest pulled the same trick on Colgan a few years ago in BFD/JHW.
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iowaman
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:38 pm

Have any other cities (specifically in Iowa) been announced?
 
A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:52 pm

Quoting Iowaman (Reply 6):
Have any other cities (specifically in Iowa) been announced?

The EAS cities that are currently in various stages of the bid process are DUJ, LNS, LEB, BKW, ALM, BKX, HON, ALS, CEZ. I think that's all of them. I just started a thread on BKW/BLF if you're interested in that selection process.

In addition to the Nebraska cities, COU was just given to Air Midwest the other day, there was a thread on that if you haven't seen it. Skyway was also reselected at ESC recently. Air Midwest was selected at JLN last month.

I believe the only cities in Iowa receiving subsidized EAS are BRL, FOD, MCW. They all have contracts expiring on May 31, 2007, so there will be a new proceeding that begins a little before then.
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
masseybrown
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska

Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:15 pm

This is off the precise topic, but, since everybody here is interested in the little guys ... the other day the DOT told Bluefield, WV that they had become too expensive (over $200 per pax) to continue subsidizing and that even though Regions proposed service at under the legal limit of $200, that proposal was considered unrealistic.

http://dmses.dot.gov/docimages/pdf96/402330_web.pdf

Other cities are probably going to start hearing this story unless the $200 limit is raised by Congress.
 
Garri767
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:38 pm

I wouldnt be surprised for ZK to leave AMA. They have like a 3% stake in the aviation market opposed to WN having 60% and the other stakes added between AE / XJT. hey! maybe your taking our ZK a/c away from us!  Wink
Two wrongs may not make a right, but three lefts do!
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:16 pm

EAS is a waste of my and most Americans tax dollars. Let the cities pony up there local taxes to lull that airlines into there city. This is one program that needs to be dumped in the lower 48, Alaska is the exception.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:20 am

Quoting NLINK (Reply 10):
EAS is a waste of my and most Americans tax dollars.

So basically you want a handfull of airlines (like my employer) to go under and thousands of people left without any air service, which flies in a hell of alot more then just people and their bags. We send blood, drugs, newspapers from time to time, car parts, and other crap to these far away places that are vital to that community. Thanks alot for caring about my job and the lively hood of all these small towns.  irked 
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HPRamper
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:24 am

I can think of far greater wastes of tax dollars than EAS.
 
A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska

Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:55 am

Quoting NLINK (Reply 10):
EAS is a waste of my and most Americans tax dollars. Let the cities pony up there local taxes to lull that airlines into there city. This is one program that needs to be dumped in the lower 48, Alaska is the exception.

Oh, please do tell why Alaska is the exception.

Wait, I know, because it's "remote", right? Well I hate to break it to you, but there are communities in the lower 48 that are just as remote.  Yeah sure

Take these Nebraska communities, for example.

The nearest medium or large hubs to North Platte are Denver at 228 miles and Omaha at 250 miles. The nearest airport of any size that receives any service at all other than subsidized EAS is non-hub Lincoln at 206 miles.

McCook? Denver is 218 miles, Omaha is 258 miles, Lincoln is 207 miles.

And those are just straight-line distances. Driving distances are considerably longer. For instance, Yahoo Maps shows McCook as being over five hours of driving time from either Denver or Omaha.

So, again, what makes Alaska so special in your mind?
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:19 am

Like I said if there is a need the ailines will come. Spending millions of dollars a year to fly 6 people a day is crazy. The EAS was created to help small communities develop after deregulation, if after over 20 years your community can't support it without federal subsidies then its time to drop the program. This means there is either not enough traffic to support regular scheduled air service or your community is not doing enough to support there air service. The playing field has changed with Southwest and other low cost carrires. This is a program which should be dropped.

Alaska is the exception since its size and no roads to a lot of areas.
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:22 am

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 11):

So basically you want a handfull of airlines

If you work for GQ you work for a sorry airline that was bought to try and break up XJ with scabs. All it is doing is wasting and stealing money from XJ.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:57 am

Quoting NLINK (Reply 14):
The playing field has changed with Southwest and other low cost carrires.

WN is in for a big suprise when their fuel disappears. Do you really think WN is going to be around in 15 years?

Quoting NLINK (Reply 15):
If you work for GQ you work for a sorry airline that was bought to try and break up XJ with scabs. All it is doing is wasting and stealing money from XJ.

Not my problem. Sure, Mair Holdings has done some strange things to XJ, but hey, I don't work for XJ, I work for GQ. XJ has got to fix itself; same thing I've always said about my company. We can do it here, we just have to get it done. If you think me and my pilots are scabs, then don't fly on us, we don't really care. Our loads are up, and things are looking fine...
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A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:02 am

Quoting NLINK (Reply 14):
Alaska is the exception since its size

You want folks in Nebraska to drive 5 hours to get to an airport, so why not the folks in Alaska? And if 5 hours is reasonable, then so is 7 or 8 or 15.
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:40 am

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 16):
We can do it here, we just have to get it done. If you think me and my pilots are scabs, then don't fly on us, we don't really care

I don't nor do I allow any of there pilots to jumpseat on us either.

Quoting A330323X (Reply 17):
ou want folks in Nebraska to drive 5 hours to get to an airport

Nebraska has roads, Alaska doen't to most areas. Looks like people in Nebraska are driving anyway since looking at the loads when you see 5 to 8 people a day flying max. Either that or no ones fly from those communities.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:46 am

Quoting Nlink (Reply 18):
nor do I allow any of there pilots to jumpseat

Oh thats brilliant. blockhead  Who are you to decide that? I'd love to watch some of our pilots when you tell them you won't allow them to jump seat on your aircraft. Watch the fur fly. Very proffessional if you ask me.  Yeah sure
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A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:47 am

Quoting Nlink (Reply 18):
Nebraska has roads, Alaska doen't to most areas.

Well you want the people in Nebraska to pay for their own air service. Why not have Alaska pay for their own roads then? The state of Alaska certainly has a good deal more money than the state of Nebraska does.

Quoting Nlink (Reply 18):
Looks like people in Nebraska are driving anyway since looking at the loads when you see 5 to 8 people a day flying max.

North Platte had 24.2 daily enplanements in 2005, an increase from 18.8 daily enplanements in 2003. The only of the five cities to have less than 19.7 daily enplanements is McCook.

[Edited 2006-06-24 22:50:14]
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:49 am

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 19):
Who are you to decide that?

PIC decision. If they buy the reduced rate fine, jumpseat, no thank you. Make them pay a bit.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:53 am

Quoting Nlink (Reply 21):
PIC decision.

So you're a PIC for XJ, eh? Like I said before, very proffesional of you not allow fellow airline pilots to fly on your aircraft. I'll remember to ask some of my pilots tonight when I head to work about their experiences jumpseating on XJ...
This isn't where I parked my car...
 
NLINK
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:54 am

Quoting A330323X (Reply 20):
North Platte had 24.2 daily enplanements in 2005, an increase from 18.8 daily enplanements in 2003. The only of the five cities to have less than 19.7 daily enplanements is McCook.

Wow, with 24.2 daily enplanements they should be just fine without EAS then.
 
GQfluffy
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:58 am

Quoting Nlink (Reply 23):
Wow, with 24.2 daily enplanements they should be just fine without EAS then.

Depends on the equipment and where these flights are coming from.
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SierraAir
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:40 am

Quoting NLINK (Reply 15):
If you work for GQ you work for a sorry airline that was bought to try and break up XJ with scabs. All it is doing is wasting and stealing money from XJ.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see how that is the fault of the employees. I don't consider GQ employees scabs because the company wasn't created to take union jobs from XJ. GQ is still flying their own aircraft, on their own routes, as they have been since 1978. Unless I'm missing something, I haven't seen any GQ aircraft on XJ routes...

Quoting NLINK (Reply 10):
EAS is a waste of my and most Americans tax dollars. Let the cities pony up there local taxes to lull that airlines into there city. This is one program that needs to be dumped in the lower 48, Alaska is the exception.

Have you ever driven across the state of Montana? Over 600 miles from Sidney to Missoula. Not exactly a day trip. The EAS program wasn't created to help small communities develop after deregulation, it was created to keep air service to those communities that would have otherwise lost it. The air service also provides transport for things like mail, medicine and other goods. Can you imagine if you needed to get a drug from Kalispell to Miles City. That's also over 600 miles....Hope it wasn't life threatening...

It's not like the government is just having to bite it and take it. The program is put up for bid, meaning that other airlines have the opportunity to bid a lower rate for the service. Also, if the service becomes too expensive warrent cancelling it, the government has the ability to do that as well.
 
A330323X
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RE: Great Lakes & Air Midwest Chosen For Nebraska EAS

Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:53 am

A lovely article from the McCook newspaper about the new service:

New airline to serve McCook

And an even lovelier editorial:

Travelers should use bargain fares

If only all communities had newspapers that supported their air service like that.


Meanwhile, the ungrateful, whiny bastards in Grand Island are throwing a fit:

Mesa: new air carrier for G.I.
Locals affected by EAS decision in holding pattern

Grand Island has been whining for *years* about wanting eastbound service, and now that it finally has it, it's still not happy.

Among other things, they're not happy about sharing a plane with McCook, even though all of the Grand Island service is nonstop; it's McCook that will have the one-stop service, but I guess the Grand Island people are too good to sit near the three people from McCook that will be on the plane.

They're also complaining about how they wanted MSP and MCI service. Well, they did get some MCI service. And the nerve of the DOT, not picking Mesaba and instead saving over $1.5 million, they actually complain about the DOT trying to save money.

Olson agreed that Omaha is not a highly desired place to fly into.

"Omaha is a dead-end street and we didn't get any support for that destination," Olson said.


Who said that? Oh yes, the *airport director*. Real mature. Don't worry, he's talking about appealing the decision, apparently deluded that he'll get somewhere by doing that.

But I like this guy:

Patrick Crawford, with Travel Destinations in Grand Island, said he was pleased to see some flights going east but was worried the fares weren't low enough for the average traveler.

"If we can get some sort of route going east, that's wonderful," he said. "What it comes down to is price. If they want people to fly, you have to make it affordable, and I'm not sure it's at that point."

Crawford said the issue lies in the price being for a one-way ticket, as opposed to round-trip, which most travelers are looking for. With many advertised flights, he said, airfare can seem cheap and accessible until return trips and taxes are factored in.

"Taxes can be quite a bit of a ticket," he said. "You see these $99 air fares and think it's a bargain, but they don't read the fine print."


Yep, the fares are too much. You see, Air Midwest is charging an outrageous $49 one-way to OMA, and $59 one-way to MCI, and those are unrestricted walk-up fares. (I'm not sure whose butt Patrick Crawford pulled the $99 fare out of.) Yes, how horrible, Air Midwest removing restrictions and offering a one-way fare, when the community really wants round-trip fares.  

Oh, and to compare, Air Midwest's average fare will be $47.35. The Big Sky proposal that Grand Island wants had an average fare of $85.00. The status quo with Great Lakes has an average fare of $115.89. Mesaba? $100.00.

So apparently, the folks in Grand Island didn't just want air service to the east, they wanted *free* air service to the east. My mistake.

[Edited 2006-06-28 00:55:27]
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