Clovis and Silver City Air service provider looking to opt out

From the Clovis News Journal - By Kevin Wilson - Great Lakes Airlines is looking to opt out as Clovis' commercial air service provider. Clovis officials have received a 90-day termination notice from Great Lakes, which provides round-trip air service daily between Clovis and Albuquerque as part of the federally funded Essential Air Service program. Under its latest contract signed in April 2011, Great Lakes is paid to provide two round trips per day and each weekend to Albuquerque from Clovis, with a federal subsidy rate of $1.6 million per year. Clovis Municipal Airport Director Gene Bieker said the termination would be effective Sept. 3 if approved, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation can decide to either accept the termination, reject it or extend the termination date.  Bieker said the notice didn't come as a surprise because he received a phone call Tuesday from Great Lakes officials, and Great Lakes CEO Chuck Howell IV had been clear about the company's desire to sever ties with Albuquerque International Sunport in previous conversations. "Albuquerque, for us on a long-term basis, just doesn't work as a business plan for us," Howell told Clovis Civil Aviation Board members in a Feb. 1 meeting via conference call. According to the notice, operating costs to provide the EAS service increased in 2011 and 2012, and, "additionally, the trends in connecting capacity at Albuquerque International Sunport suggest that Albuquerque would not offer incremental connecting capacity, with airlines in which we have connection agreements, to generate enough future revenue to offset the incremental operating costs which we are experiencing." Great Lakes also plans to opt of out its EAS contract with Silver City. Clovis' contract with Great Lakes runs through March 2013, with the carrier serving Clovis and Silver City since April 30, 2005. Read more


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