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Airport, civic officials meet with Great Lakes

Brainerd airport and civic officials met last week with top executives of Great Lakes Airlines, the carrier which has been tabbed to eventually replace Delta Airlines at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The first face-to-face meeting airport officials had with Great Lakes officials was discussed at Tuesday’s Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission meeting at the airport, Rick Adair, interim airport manager said.

Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber chief executive officer, said today she came away from the meeting very excited about Great Lakes’ service.

“Their entire focus is providing regional air service so they are knowledgeable, experienced and they have a very good reputation.” Paxton said. “They were very interested in meeting the needs of the Brainerd lakes air travelers.

Paxton said she; Adair; Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. (BLAEDC) Executive Director Sheila Haverkamp; chamber board chairman Steve Mau of General Rental; Kevin Close, BLAEDC board member; and Beth Pfingsten, airport commission vice chair; met Thursday with Chuck Howell, the airline’s chief executive officer, and Doug Voss, its president, at the Brainerd airport.

Last fall, Great Lakes Airlines was named as the air service provider when Delta Airline pulls its service from the Brainerd airport. Adair emphasized that Delta is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration to continue service to Brainerd until a replacement is able to step in.

The interim airport manager said Great Lakes Airlines officials told them they don’t have a date when their service might begin and they are in the process of buying more 19-passenger Beech 1900D planes to serve the region. In addition to the 28 Beech 1900D planes Great Lakes also flies six EMB 120 Brasilia planes (30 passenger), which are bigger versions of the 1900s with more head room.

Paxton said airline officials told them that once a plane is acquired it is refurbished at the airline’s headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Adair also noted Great Lakes is required to provide a minimum of four departing flights from Brainerd a day, with the possibility of more during the summer months.

Paxton quoted Howell as describing the Brainerd airport as the “best facility in their network.”

She said the Brainerd officials learned consumers will be able to book their flights through or

Other commission action on Tuesday that was reported by Adair included:

Twenty-nine applications had been received so far for the airport commission manager position.

Danae Blanck Anderson of I.D. Your World was chosen to provide interior decorating services. Earlier the commission had decided to spend $15,000 for three years for interior decorating.

The search committee for a new airport manager will meet at 4 p.m. April 30 in the airport conference room.

The commission’s next meeting is 9:30 a.m. May 1.

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860