Financial Solvency of Great Lakes Aviation Questioned

"I do feel certain that the (U.S. Department of Transportation) wouldn't have approved Great Lakes for essential air service if they felt their debt load was unmanageable," Hatcher said.

Hatcher said he believes Pacific Wings and Great Lakes are good companies. He said his January endorsement of Great Lakes stemmed from federal standards that require pressurized airplanes with passenger capabilities of more than 15 on essential air service routes, unless communities indicate they want other service via writing.

Great Lakes flies 19-seat, pressurized planes.

Hatcher said he would like both airlines to come to Clovis, but believes Great Lakes deserves the federal subsidy because it meets outlined standards.

Hatcher said it would be "almost impossible" to regain 19-passenger flights at the Clovis Municipal Airport if Great Lakes were dismissed in favor of Pacific Wings.

Pacific Wings, he said, could offer flights at Clovis with no subsidy and fill a niche with chartered flights.

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