Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Great Lakes Airlines perhaps has felt the effects of the industry’s failure to attract new pilots as much as any member of the Regional Airline
Great Lakes Airlines
The FAA has proposed levying a $304,000 civil penalty against Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation for allegedly conducting 19 flights following improper application of de-icing fluid. The FAA maintains that Great Lakes flew Beech 1900Ds out of Hays, Kan., in January 2011 with de-icing fluid that exceeded the maximum temperature of 180 degrees F. The Great Lakes de-icing manual states that fluid heated to more than 180 degrees could damage the aircraft or the de-icer.
Great Lakes had 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s December 2 enforcement letter to respond to the agency.
The FAA announced last week that it proposed fines against both Great Lakes Aviation and Southwest Airlines for unrelated FAR violations. The FAA claims that Great Lakes flew a Beech 1900 on 19 different occasions when the aircraft’s de-icing fluid was heated to temperatures exceeding the 180-degree limit that could possibly damage the aircraft. Southwest Airlines was accused of incorrectly wiring a windshield heater switch on a Boeing 717 and operating that aircraft on 1,140 passenger flights before the error was detected.
Raytheon Aircraft no longer owns part of Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation, following the airline’s November 16 repurchase of all common stock owned by the one-time Beech 1900 manufacturer. According to Great Lakes’ third-quarter 10Q filing with the SEC, the airline entered into new financing agreements with GB Merchant Partners and Crystal Capital, allowing it to settle its obligations with Raytheon Aircraft. Terms of the financing include a four-year term loan of $24 million and a revolving loan credit facility under which the company may borrow $10 million.
Over the past two years the profile of the “traditional” Essential Air Service applicant has changed dramatically. No longer the nearly exclusive domain of
Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation announced it would launch EAS routes to four Montana destinations from Billings on February 1, marking an end to nearly a year’s wait for service since the now defunct Big Sky Airlines stopped flying to Glasgow, Glendive, Havre and Wolf Point.
Hawker Beechcraft Beech 1900D, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 7, 2008–The empennage of the Great Lakes Aviation 1900 struck a building overhang while parking at its gate at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, aided by a marshaler and a wing walker. The vertical stabilizer was twisted and the rudder and the right side of the elevator were wrinkled. No one was injured.
United Airlines last month asked a judge overseeing its bankruptcy case for permission to end the code-sharing and marketing agreement with regional carrier Great Lakes Aviation. According to a UAL spokesman, the request is “essentially procedural” and does not mean UAL rejects out of hand Great Lakes as a code-sharing and marketing partner.
Hawker Beechcraft 1900D, Page, Ariz., March 26, 2008–A cargo door opened just after takeoff at Page Municipal Airport and the Great Lakes Airlines 1900 returned to land, with no injuries and only minor damage to the airplane.
Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation has won the right to serve 20 new markets under its recently signed code-share contract with Frontier Airlines. The expanded deal brings to 35 the total number of cities Great Lakes will serve under the Frontier code. Now flying to 16 cities under the Frontier code (eight of which were added November 15), Great Lakes will add a further 20 destinations on December 14.
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