Mon, Aug 30, 2004
Reason: It's Too &!%# Expensive!
Ask just about anyone in Gillette
(WY) what they think of commercial air service into and out of
Gillette-Campbell County Airport and you're liable to get an
earful. In a survey conducted last May by the Campbell County
Economic Development Corporation, Gillette's citizens gave local
air service a 2.3 rating on a scale of 1-5.
Complaints about air service in Gillette "were all over the
board," said CCEDC marketing director Ruth Benson. She spoke in an
interview with the Gillette News-Record. "My impression, people
think it's too expensive to fly out of here."
Right now, Gillette is served by just one commercial carrier --
Great Lakes Airlines. Like many airlines, Great Lakes is struggling
in the new, post-9/11 reality. That bodes ill for any attempt to
get the carrier to lower fares.
What's the answer?
"The only true answer in today's business world is subsidies,"
airport manager Jay Lundell told the News-Record. "That's the
bottom line, really. "If we're going to solve the issue of high air
fares... and be competitive regionally, I don't see another way to
Lundell told the paper he's trying to find other carriers
willing to take a chance on Gillette so his facility can offer
expanded service. But he's not very optimistic.
"The realistic option is to work with Great Lakes in more of a
direct way and trying to find out ways we can lower our costs to
consumers here," he told the News-Record. "They're a Wyoming
company, and it behooves us to work as close to them as we
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