Great Lakes takes over city air service

Staff and wire reports

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Great Lakes Aviation takes over air service at Clovis Municipal Airport today.

The Wyoming-based air service will offer two flights weekdays from Clovis to Albuquerque and one on Saturdays and Sundays, according to Steve Summers, Clovis airport director.

Mesa Air had provided the city’s air service since 1988. Great Lakes was awarded the contract over Mesa in January.

Summers said Great Lakes also plans to add service from Clovis to Denver.

Though the company saw profits more than triple in 2004, Great Lake officials remain worried about rising fuel prices and declining federal subsidies for community airports.
Great Lakes on Thursday reported net income of $5.6 million for 2004, up from $1.7 million in 2003. Passenger revenues rose 12 percent in 2004.

However, revenue from federal subsidies fell from more than $25 million in 2003 to $20.8 million in 2004, contributing to the elimination of some Great Lakes’ routes, the company said.

Chief Financial Officer Michael Matthews said he didn’t expect any more routes to be cut this year, and that Great Lakes might even expand to new locations in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Great Lakes cut service last year to six subsidized communities in South Dakota, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska, as well three cities that weren’t subsidized — Casper; Rapid City, S.D.; and Wichita, Kan.

“As we further refine our company and define who we are, we are seeking to trim non-profitable routes,” said Great Lakes chief executive officer Charles Howell.

Howell said since the beginning of the year, the price of fuel has climbed about 30 cents per gallon higher.

Great Lakes has had to raise ticket prices twice to cover increased fuel costs.

From its hub in Denver, Great Lakes serves airports in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.