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DODGE CITY, Kansas. — The City of Dodge City received notice on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, that PenAir, the regional airline provider, will cease all operations out of their Denver International Airport hub. The cessation will come into effect on September 10, 2017 and will affect the Kansas communities of Liberal and Dodge City, as well as other communities in Nebraska.
“PenAir is claiming extraordinary circumstances from the loss of pilots which occurred immediately following their public announcement of filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” said Cherise Tieben, City of Dodge City City Manager.
It is this claim that is allowing PenAir to immediately cease operations rather than provide the community with a time for transition to a new air service without disruption.
“The City of Dodge City is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and our federal legislative delegation to aid in securing a new airline for the Essential Air Service, Tieben said.
The due date for proposals to start the review process of airlines desiring to serve as the EAS service for the Dodge City Regional Airport is Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
“Once an airline is secure, there will be a minimum of 60-90 days of transition time,” said Corey Keller, Dodge City Regional Airport Manager. “We are diligently working to ensure that a new airline is put in place as quickly as possible, as we understand how important it is to our residents to have commercial air service out of Dodge City.”
For those with flights after September 10, 2017, please contact PenAir at 800-448-4226 or email@example.com for information regarding refunds.
Attached below is the press release sent out by PenAir on September 5, 2017.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: September 5, 2017
CONTACT: Melissa Roberts, PenAir V.P., Marketing and Sales
Alaska-based PenAir announces the Cessation of Service out of their Denver Hub
Alaska-based PenAir has announced, effective September 11, 2017, they will cease all operations out of their Denver based hub. Effected communities are: Liberal and Dodge City, Kansas, and Scottsbluff, Kearney and North Platte, Nebraska.
According to CEO, Danny Seybert, “the cessation of service is due to extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances beyond our control and beyond our ability to resolve – the precipitous massive loss of Saab-340 pilots and PenAir’s inability to replace them. As a result of our pilot resignations (totaling 17 pilot departures to date), it will be physically impossible for PenAir to continue to operate the Nebraska/Kansas flights beyond September 10. Our last fights to all communities out of our Denver base will be September 10, 2017.”
PenAir had evaluated whether it could operate a reduced service (e.g., 1 daily flight at the Kansas/Nebraska communities), and has determined that it could not do so without negatively impacting crews further from other PenAir EAS flights, which would adversely impact other PenAir EAS services at other communities and run the risk of more pilot departures, causing a further downward spiral. PenAir is unable to transfer Saab-340 pilots from their Alaska or Boston hubs to Denver. “Alaska pilots won’t move because they love the Alaska lifestyle and the fact that they are home every night with their families. Additionally, Boston needs every available pilot to maintain current EAS at the communities served in and out of that hub. We are doing everything we can to enhance pilot retention however this is an industry wide challenge effecting all carriers including the majors.” says Seybert.
PenAir has been a dedicated and reliable EAS provider and an active participant in the EAS program since the 1980s. From their first EAS route until this week, PenAir had built a solid record of providing reliable service that earned it strong support from their EAS communities. However, after petitioning for Chapter 11 protection, PenAir has experienced massive unanticipated pilot resignations. These extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, which were beyond PenAir’s control and ability to resolve, are the main cause of PenAir’s decision to cease the Nebraska/Kansas flights after September 10, 2017.
Passengers scheduled to fly out of the Denver market may contact the airline their travel was originally booked on, or PenAir at 800-448-4226. The company anticipates high call volumes during this time and will proactively, begin calling customers with travel dates of September 11 forward. Passengers may also contact the company’s reservations department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.