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Larger airline expresses interest in Scottsbluff EAS route

A larger airline may have interest in bidding on Scottsbluff's essential air service contract when it is open for renewal next year.

Scotts Bluff County Airport Authority Chair Don Overman told the board Wednesday that a meeting with Skywest Airlines officials in late October was fruitful in generating real interest in serving Scottsbluff. Overman said there was no guarantee Skywest would bid for the route, but he added if "nothing unusual" happens between now and the spring he believes "there's no question" Skywest will make a bid for the Scottsbluff route next year.

Overman said this was the third time local officials have met with Skywest, and if Skywest did bid for the route, they would fly 30 passenger Brasilia aircraft that have restrooms and a steward on board. Overman says Skywest also has over 300 aircraft and did not indicate it was having the pilot problems that have caused Great Lakes Airlines to cancel a number of flights this fall.

Overman praised local Great Lakes employees for helping passengers book alternate flights when their flights have been canceled. But Board member Dr. Lou Kleager said "reliability not cost" is becoming the big issue with the Scottsbluff based flights, adding it "has to get fixed."

Overman said he "shares the pain" of local passengers after canceled flights caused him and Airport Manager Darwin Skelton to adjust their flight schedules and do some extra driving to get to the meeting in Utah with Skywest representatives.

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