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Forum News Service, Published January 30 2014

SkyWest awarded contracts for air service in Jamestown, Devils Lake

Devils Lake and Jamestown, N.D., will have air service connecting the towns with flights to Denver, members of the North Dakota congressional delegation announced Thursday.

SkyWest Airlines, based in Utah, was awarded the contract to serve the cities under the federal Essential Air Service program.

Great Lakes Airlines had the contract for the cities for EAS, but announced Monday that it would end its service Saturday. It had been making round-trip flights between Devils Lake and Minneapolis, with stops in Jamestown.

In its news release Monday, Great Lakes blamed new federal pilot requirements for its decision to end service. CEO Charles Howe said the company had lost about 200 of the 300 pilots it had a year ago.

According to spokeswoman Abbie McDonough with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s office, SkyWest is proposing 12 flights a week. There is no start date for the service, but it usually begins 120 days after contract is awarded.

Heitkamp has asked the airline and the federal Department of Transportation to try to make the process quicker.