DL Officials Head to Washington Over Undependable Air Service(WDAZ-TV) - Devils Lake officials will fly to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to address why local flight service isn't as dependable as it should be.
By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ
(WDAZ-TV) - Devils Lake officials will fly to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to address why local flight service isn't as dependable as it should be.
There have been inconsistencies in Devils Lake air service since Great Lakes Airlines took over for Delta in December.
Local leaders say they've given Great Lakes more than enough time to smooth out the kinks when it comes to air service, but now they say the growing pains should be over.
Perry Gable shouldn't even be at the Devils Lake airport today.
"I had a flight out of here yesterday and it was canceled for some unknown reason," Gable said.
But he's trying again because it's the only option in town.
"You've got no choice really if that's all you can get," Gable said.
But fewer people are taking that option since Great Lakes began serving Devils Lake in December.
"There's only myself and one other person on this plane today going back to Minneapolis. It's very rare that they have full seats," Gable said.
"We're about 50 percent down on boardings, so that's really not good news for us," Devils Lake Airport Director John Nord said.
Nord will join mayor Dick Johnson in Washington, D.C. this week to speak with congressional leaders, Department of Transportation officials and reps from Delta and Great Lakes in an attempt to improve service.
"We just need to make sure we get the air service that we're entitled to. And actually, under the (Essential Air Service) system, it says the federal government has assured us we will have," Johnson said.
Officials say once service is reliable, other problems will take care of themselves.
"I do believe that once we get those matters taken care of and we have a little experience on it, that we will get our clientele back," Nord said.
Fliers like Gable hope the change comes quickly. He says he's considering traveling to Minot or Grand Forks for future air travel needs.
"I hope so. I really hope something comes out of it. We need better service here," Gable said.
Devils Lake representatives will be joined by officials from the Jamestown Airport, who are having similar problems with Great Lakes Airlines.
The airline has proposed adding a third flight to Minneapolis but that flight would go to Thief River Falls before hitting the Twin Cities, which is something local officials rejected.