McCOOK, Nebraska -- Commercial air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport will be suspended effective April 1.
Great Lakes Airlines made the announcement Wednesday and indicated it would be effective through April 27 and "due to the severe industry-wide pilot shortage and its relative acute impact on Great Lakes."
The suspension notice stated all customers with future flights in any of the effected stations would be given refunds and asked they begin their refund efforts with their initial booking source.
McCook Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff said representatives from the airline informed him they were suspending service in McCook, Great Bend, Kansas, and Williston, North Dakota. This weeks announcement is identical to the Jan. 27, 2014, suspension notice Great Lakes issued to six other airports in North Dakota, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, citing the same reason.
City staff began efforts to coordinate a meeting of the Airport Advisory Commission and McCook City Council Wednesday, distributing a proposal from SeaPort Airlines to board members. The proposal offers three options of weekend round-trip flights, including McCook to Wichita, Kansas; McCook to Omaha, Nebraska; or a combination of McCook to Kansas City and Wichita.
City staff hopes to have a quorum for the meeting on March 25 or 26.
Citizens will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and issues with essential air service during a public meeting between U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith and city staff on Monday, March 17. The meeting is open to the public and intended to discuss and gather input from citizens concerning essential air service and the impacts of the new pilot training hour requirements.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in the upstairs training room of the McCook Municipal Facility on West C Street.