Great Lakes Airlines, a Wyoming-based regional carrier, announced that it will suspend scheduled flight operations effective Monday, March 26, after more than 40 years in business.
A release from the company said that it was going to lay off employees and that its 34 planes were available for sale.
“Critical staff members needed to support the scheduled airline certificate, repair station certificate, reservation platform and maintain the fleet will be kept onboard until the airline’s assets can be sold,” the release said.
A notice on the company’s website said that Great Lakes was not entering bankruptcy.
“Although we are ceasing flight operations, it is important to note that the company has not entered bankruptcy and will continue to operate certain segments of the business,” the release from company officials said. “We will continue to support the ADI flights operating between Denver, Pierre and Watertown.”
ADI -– Aerodynamics Inc.– operates scheduled service between Denver, Pierre, S.D. and Watertown, S.D.
The company cited changes in flight officer qualifications enacted in 2015 as a reason for the shutdown. It said that it had difficulty finding qualified pilots and caused flights to be suspended.
Wyoming National Public Radio reported that Great Lakes was the sole carrier operating flights to Cheyenne, the state’s capital. The city’s mayor said it will be looking for another carrier to re-establish service there.
A notice on Great Lakes’ website directed ticket holders for flights on or after March 27 to contact their original booking source for a refund.
“If booked directly with Great Lakes, call 1-800-554-5111,” the notice said.
Great Lakes Airlines was founded in 1977 by Doug Voss and Ivan Simpson in Spirit Lake, Iowa.