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Airport officials continue discussions on air service

Posted on 6/14/2012

By: Kari Lucin

"The Jamestown Sun"

Jamestown Regional Airport Authority officials are continuing discussions with Great Lakes Aviation and Delta Air Lines about improving air service from Jamestown.

"We'll have a definitive solution on Friday - a comprehensive solution that'll address our concerns," said Matthew Leitner, manager of Jamestown Regional Airport.

Jamestown receives commercial air service through federally-granted Essential Air Service funding.

Delta had provided air service to Jamestown but then opted not to re-bid its EAS contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Great Lakes, a Cheyenne, Wyo., company, was considered the only viable bidder on the EAS contract, and took over air service to Jamestown on March 19.

Between then and the end of May, Great Lakes completed 91.7 percent of its departures from Jamestown and 92.5 percent of its arrivals there.

Delta had a track record of 95.5 percent on arrivals and 95.3 percent on departures.

Timeliness has also been an issue, with many flights being reportedly late.

Both the timeliness and completion rate have drastically improved, Leitner said, since last week's meeting in Washington, D.C., in which JRAA representatives and congressional delegates met with DoT, Delta and Great Lakes officials to address JRA's plummeting boarding statistics.

At that meeting, JRAA representatives gave Delta and Great Lakes a list of issues to address, and requested a definitive response by June 15.

JRAA representatives met again with Great Lakes officials via teleconference on Wednesday.

"We're still in the process here of mapping out a go-forward, get-well plan," said Jim Boyd, chairman of the JRAA. "There's some work being done right now last week, we got their attention."

Leitner, whose office has a clear window to the airfield, said Great Lakes flights had been "coming in and out on time, for the most part" since the Washington meeting.

"Their reliability has changed, their performance has changed," Leitner said. "There's still a little left to be desired, but we're moving in the right direction."

Mary Osborne, regional sales manager for Great Lakes, visited the JRA for a ribbon-cutting ceremony promoting Great Lakes Wednesday, and asked the small crowd at the event to bear with Great Lakes as it goes through the transition of air service in Jamestown.

"We are here to stay," Osborne said.

Following the ribbon-cutting, Osborne said Great Lakes is looking at tweaking the air service schedule to Jamestown, as well as acquiring extra aircraft to serve the region, either through moving planes from other locations or by purchasing additional aircraft.

"We are making every effort to improve the service we have," Osborne said. "We are working on things and we want to make this work as bad as the community does."

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453

or by email at