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With PenAir departure, new carrier being sought for Liberal air service PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 August 2017 11:43


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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



PenAir’s announcement earlier this week regarding ending service in Liberal came as a surprise to many in the area, and having provided service at the Liberal Airport for only 11 months, city staff especially was shocked. 

“Monday morning, local PenAir personnel notified the City they had received an email overnight from the PenAir owner that they had filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Friday,” Liberal Airport Manager Debbie Giskie said. “Later in the morning, the City received the official Notice of Termination of Service sent from PenAir to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT).”

According to an Associated Press article from Monday, the action will end routes between Denver and Liberal and Dodge City, as well as a few cities in Nebraska. 

“PenAir had previously announced it was ending Portland, Ore., regional routes,” the AP article continued. “All but an essential air service route between Portland and Crescent City, Calif., are to be shut down after Monday.”

In Liberal’s case, Giskie said USDOT will begin the process of issuing an order inviting proposals from carriers possibly interested in providing air service for the Liberal community. In the meantime, Giskie continued, the City will be working with a consultant to contact carriers who may be interested in submitting those proposals.

So what does PenAir’s leaving mean for air travel customers in Liberal? According to the Notice of Termination of Service, Giskie said, PenAir will continue to provide flights to Denver until the new carrier is in place. 

“The transition process will be much the same as Sept. 15, 2016, when the carriers changed from Great Lakes Aviation to PenAir at Liberal,” Giskie said. “It is unfortunate how after 11 months of service with PenAir this has occurred, and the City of Liberal is sad to see this  didn't work out. We had high hopes for them and wish them well during their recovery.”

And as the action is so recent, Giskie said it is hard to put a timeline on when a new airline will become part of the City of Liberal. 

“That is hard to say at this time since the news is so recent, but the whole process can potentially take from four to six months for USDOT to publish an order to accept air carrier proposals for the service, evaluate the proposals and then obtain community recommendation before issuing an Order for new service,” Giskie said. 

For those with questions concerning their existing reservations, Giskie said to call 1-800-448-4226.

“As we move forward, we would encourage the public to continue to support local air service as it is an integral part of the continued development of the community,” Giskie said. “One of the goals  for successful air service will be to ensure the availability of an early morning flight to Denver to ensure passengers have the ability to make better connections toward their final destination.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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