Great Lakes Airlines will increase flights in October
FARMINGTON — Next month, Great Lakes Airlines will increase the number of flights departing from and arriving at the Four Corners Regional Airport.
Starting Oct. 1, the airline will offer 15 flights per week, according to a press release from the Farmington airport. A flight schedule can be found at fmtn.org/airport.
"It's pretty good news, and we're excited about it," said Jody Carman, an administrative assistant with the Four Corners Regional Airport.
From Farmington, Great Lakes currently offers direct flights to and from Denver and Page, Ariz. The company also offers a flight from Page to Phoenix.
Great Lakes Airlines has served as the airport's sole provider of commercial flights since 2008 when Mesa Airlines and U.S. Airways stopped service to Farmington, according to Daily Times archives.
About 500 Great Lakes Airlines passengers boarded flights at the Farmington airport between January and August this year, according to an airport operations report presented to the Airport Advisory Board on Sept. 13.
The number of passengers has decreased throughout the year. In January, 144 people boarded Great Lakes planes while in August only 12 people boarded.
The overall numbers are also down from previous years. Between January and August 2015, more than 1,900 people boarded Great Lakes Airlines flights in Farmington. In August 2015 alone, more than 300 people boarded planes in Farmington.
Local airport officials say a 2013 Federal Aviation Administration rule that increased the number of training hours required for co-pilots has caused a pilot shortage that has contributed to the drop in flights.
From January to December 2013, more than 15,600 passengers boarded planes in Farmington, compared to about 5,800 the following year, according to the operations report.
Despite an overall drop in the number of flights offered, there has been some good news. Carman said the airport so far this month has offered 15 flights, an increase from the five offered in August.
"It's been amping up," she said.
Officials with Great Lakes Airlines could not be reached for comment today.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.