Topic of the Week: The Incredible Shrinking Great Lakes

Great Lakes has been shrinking a lot. Take a look at the most recent traffic numbers. Number of passengers down 62.2 percent. The benefit, however, is a higher load factor (way up to 55.7 percent) and a huge increase in unit revenue (up an incredible 64.1 percent). But the airline only flew 557 people every day in July. That’s not a lot. What do you think is the future for Great Lakes… if there is one?

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17 Comments on "Topic of the Week: The Incredible Shrinking Great Lakes"

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Nick Barnard
Member

It’s supposed to be impossible to kill an airline right? They just need to find a current billionaire and future millionaire to buy them.

Bravenav
Guest

How much of this is because of their reducing many of their planes from 19 to 9 seats to them to fly under part 135 rules?

Bravenav
Guest

I missed a word there. ….to enable them to fly…

Sanjeev M
Guest
We need some economical 9-seaters ASAP. Someone to feed the remote Western cities to SLC/DEN and similarly the upper midwest to MSP/DTW/ORD. There’s probably also a case for it in the South feeding ATL and some EAS markets like DFW-GCK. I thought Cape Air was working on an aircraft here with some Italian company. Another thing that will help is less than daily frequencies (say 3 weekly) like they do in Europe. Lot of the times the airlines want to do daily or double daily to provide maximum hub feed and day trips for business travelers. Take a upper Michigan… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

Since they do so much EAS, they should have learned by now you don’t make money doing that. Most EAS routes are not needed and as already pointed out, not with daily service. They should break away from EAS and find a niche area with not much air service and link small cities into a local bigger city.

Sean S.
Guest

Their fortunes are almost entirely reliant on continued existence of EAS. Considering the cut backs and increasingly tighter criteria for EAS, it is hard to see any real growth in their market. And I can’t see where they would then put their planes considering their size and ranges.

frumby
Member

Great Lakes, as well as all Regional Carriers, will simply evaporate if a solution to the new FAR Pilot mandates are not achieved.

j.monat
Member

Great Lakes flies to a lot of places with low demand. For example, Denver to Pierre, SD. Great place to visit, actually. Had to make that RT flight once. I think there were three or maybe four passengers. But it’s not a fun flight to get there especially in the Beech 19. Driving from someplace in SD not an option. Really a marginal operation.

eccjeep
Member

How’s Silver Airways doing?

jaybru
Member
Mention Great Lakes, and of course, you’re into the whole EAS debate-the haters vs. the lovers, and those, and there are few, I admit, that can see all sides of such a program. Cranky, you a have a guy there who knows more about the EAS program than I do. Just from my knowledge, last time I checked, Great Lakes is the biggie in the lower-48 EAS program, having roughly 1/3 of all the EAS routes. Does Great Lakes operate anything but EAS routes? In the same boat, with at least 2 or more EAS routes but with far fewer… Read more »
Joe
Guest

Brett, I come here for the hilarious pictures.. What gives?

green747
Member

Great Lakes B1900’splane have seen better days. They need a massive infusion of money in order to survive and get new airplanes.,

Jim
Guest

Most airlines have been getting rid of their small planes. Of course an airline that flies exclusively small planes will be hit the hardest.

I don’t think there is much future for these planes, or this airline. People can drive or take the bus/train to get to a larger hub airport instead. Congress isn’t going to expand EAS. Great Lakes will probably shrink some more, and eventually be acquired by Skywest or another regional.

asdfjkl;
Guest

Frontier is cancelling their codeshare as well

Mike
Guest

Lakes inability to properly crew their airplanes is the main reason for these cutbacks. With other, better paying, regionals all trying to draw from the same limited pool of applicants they just can’t hire enough people to fill the front seats. They’re in a catch 22, because they can’t make a profit if they raise pilot pay, and can’t run a full schedule without enough qualified pilots. On top of that they have limited ability to change the terms of their negotiated EAS contracts.

LaVern Raasch von Weltzien
Guest
LaVern Raasch von Weltzien

About fifteen years ago I recall the proud Parents of a young Great Lakes Pilot seeing their son off on his ORD-IMT flight that I was ticketed on, and wonder where that young Man is now. Was his experience with Great Lakes a rewarding step on the way up? Or did his Great Lakes experience ruin him for that occupation.

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