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Great Lakes Airlines shuts down

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Ken

Well-Known Member
3/26/18
Great Lakes Suspends Scheduled Flight Operations
As a result, at midnight tonight – Monday, 3/26/18, Great Lakes will suspend scheduled flight operations as an air carrier.
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. We will continue to support the ADI flights operating between Denver, Pierre and Watertown.
For those customers who are holding tickets on flights on/after 3/27/18, please contact your original booking source for a refund.

http://www.greatlakesav.com

Guess I'll be making an 8.5 hour drive to get my dad to the Phoenix airport :(
 

CHRIS MCBETH

Well-Known Member
3/26/18
Great Lakes Suspends Scheduled Flight Operations
As a result, at midnight tonight – Monday, 3/26/18, Great Lakes will suspend scheduled flight operations as an air carrier.
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. We will continue to support the ADI flights operating between Denver, Pierre and Watertown.
For those customers who are holding tickets on flights on/after 3/27/18, please contact your original booking source for a refund.

http://www.greatlakesav.com

Guess I'll be making an 8.5 hour drive to get my dad to the Phoenix airport :(

Drop him off in Flagstaff. There are commuter flights to PHx from there
 

Gem Morris

Well-Known Member
I’ve used them many times on the Denver to Pierre route to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Although I’m glad to see that route is still open it makes me wonder what is going on and if that route is also in jeopardy of closing? It was/is just a 20 seater prop plane and only made 1 maybe 2 runs per day - can’t imagine it generates enough revenue to be so important?
 

cfulton

Well-Known Member
The only reason Great Lakes has been in business on any of it's routes is the Essential Air Service (EAS) subsidy from good 'ol Uncle Sam....ie: you and me. That Government program pays airlines, who bid to get the subsidy, to fly routes that are not otherwise profitable. Looks to me that they could not even be profitable on welfare.
Chuck
 

cfulton

Well-Known Member
That's only part of their problem. To solve that one GL converted many Beech 1900 interiors to 9 pax so they can fly them single pilot and let lesser experienced pilots ride up front to log time to help them get the 1500. I don't think the pilot shortage was the main reason they shut down but it is an ongoing problem for all airlines. I suspect that many of their higher time pilots are being recruited by the majors...kind of slippery slope right now and the commuter/smaller guys at the bottom of the food chain. The FAA is working on a more reasonable cockpit qualification system.
Chuck
 

Leardriver

Well-Known Member
The Beech 1900 is made as a 19 seater because....when you get to 20 seats, you are required to have a flight attendant.
Great Lakes has always paid very low wages, and people would work there because they weren't going to be there long, and the experience and quick flight hour building was great. Now, the major airlines are desperate, and standards have been greater relaxed. You can get hired at Frontier or Spirit with a pulse and a passport, as the saying goes.
I hate seeing anyone close up shop, but their business model was dependent on very cheap labor.
 

Gem Morris

Well-Known Member
Yah but the pilot has quite a bit of skin in the game😀

Besides, what better way to die than on your way to hunt pheasants in South Dakota?!

Unless it’s returning home after a successful hunt there!!

If there isn’t pheasant hunting in heaven I ain’t goin’😀
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
I rode next to an older, long time international route pilot a few years ago, and he explained to me the upcoming problems airlines were going to face. For years, they cut the pay to new pilots to ridiculously low levels, and basically treated them like crap. By cutting costs in this manner, they effectively stopped the pipeline of new pilots. These talented and intelligent people could make much more money and not have to deal with crap like sleeping 5 to a room trying to reduce expenses, if they worked in another profession. He was right.....
 

Leardriver

Well-Known Member
Exactly right. A friend of mine made $38000 in their first year as a first officer at Frontier, a supposedly major airline. I don't know why you would take that job. The majors are now struggling to get people to show up to a new hire class for $90,000.
 
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Jim Morgan

Active Member
I was talking to th FBO lady in Alliance or Lexington, Nebraska and Great Lakes had just stopped their service there. She told me a pilot shortage. She also told me they had rows and rows of 1900's parked at some airport in the Midwest.
 

weeds

Well-Known Member
What a change....

In 1977 when hired by Western Airlines the situation was dead opposite.
Took me 10 years to get myself into a position so the airlines would look at me. I was 33 years old...3 over the normally max allowed.

The VP of operations came by the first day of class and said..... "for each one of you...there are 450 other applicants as equally qualified".
Nearly all in the class were military trained. The 3 of us from the private sector had been corporate, where my Lear pay was $1000 a month...which was fantastic in 1975. The first year pay at Western was $800 a month...so what...they actually followed the FAA rules for flight time/duty time regulations.
All better than flight instructing...or towing gliders for $450 a month...or flying copilot on the Lockheed PV-2 for $3.50 an hour at 12 hour days spraying fire ants in Grenada, Mississippi. And when not flying, you worked on the airplane if you knew what was good for you.

Stories like this in the aviation world are common...it just ain't easy.
Even with inflation factored in there's still not much money.
(Unless of course you were a 50 year old 747 captain flying international before Sept. 11, 2001. They indeed made good money.)
 

Outside

Well-Known Member
Exactly right. A friend of mine made $38000 in their first year as a first officer at Frontier, a supposedly major airline. I don't know why you would take that job. The majors are now struggling to get people to show up to a new hire class for $90,000.
Two of my friends bailed Frontier 15 years ago for this reason. One couldn't stop flying so he's been doing cargo in Europe since......
 

woodhead

Active Member
This is a great thread. However there needs to be one correction. The major airlines (American, United, Delta, Alaska, Jet Blue) are not having any trouble “getting people to show up for classes”. The regional airlines however are.
 

Leardriver

Well-Known Member
My friend from Frontier just went to her indoc training at Delta, the holy grail of high paying airline jobs. You used to have to have 7000 hours and be an ex fighter pilot. She has 4200 hours, and out of her class of 30, 6 didn't show up. That was two weeks ago. I'm sure the number of no-shows is a moving target.
 

woodhead

Active Member
Well that is a good sign. I know a lot of good aviators who can’t even get an interview with Delta let alone not show up to class. There is NO shortage of qualified pilots that want to go to work for the majors. That I guarantee you!!!
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
Long time retired pilot type here. "Weeds" hit it on the head. Back then you had to be astronaut qualified to be accepted into the inner sanctum. Capt's on 727s at Continental made enough to buy 2 new pickups every month(@$10,000/mo in the late 60s) but the FEs (flight engineers) 1st year was crap pay. You were on probation for 12 months. No reason needed, if they said bye-bye you went out the door.

Its always been a hard climb into the left seat with a major airline but now there are 3 yr employees holding a low Capt bid at Delta. The world is changing. Used to be 10 or 12 years right seat before you could hold Capt. That's after maybe 5-8 years flying sidesaddle as the FE. Now, anyone with a heart beat can make left seat in a regional in 2 years or less flying jets. That's after they get the magic 1500 hrs flying time. There in lies the hurdle now. Lots of young pilots (even old pilots) flying lake tours here in Page with 250 hrs total time trying to build to the 1500 hr mark.
 
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