Fort Dodge Regional Airport’s only carrier is suspending service, leaving the future of the small airport up in the air.
Seats at the airport are empty. The desk for the airport’s sole airline service, Great Lakes Airlines, is dark after the company decided to suspend service.
The problem is, new federal regulations require pilots to have more rest between flights. Great Lakes Airlines just doesn’t have enough pilots to meet the federal guidelines and provide service in Fort Dodge, so service has been suspended.
“They’ve cancelled 50-percent of their flights,” says airport director Rhonda Chambers, “Because they just haven’t had the pilots to fly.”
This is a serious blow to Fort Dodge business.
“This is definitely not the direction our community has been moving in,” says Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Benrich. “We’ve had a lot of growth in our community and a lot of things moving forward and a lot of good things happening so this is a little bit of a setback.”
For now, the airport will try to find a new carrier. But that could take four months or more.
Anyone who has already purchased tickets will receive a full refund, according to a statement released by Great Lakes Airlines.