Great Lakes Airlines offering service to Los Angeles
FARMINGTON — The sole provider of commercial flights at the Four Corners Regional Airport has added service to Los Angeles International Airport.
Airport manager Mike Lewis said Great Lakes Airlines started offering direct flights to Los Angeles earlier this month. The flights are scheduled every Monday and Thursday. Departure from Farmington is at 1:12 p.m. and arrival from Los Angeles is at 3:10 p.m. both days.
"The market here in Farmington has always been good for them," Lewis said. "Farmington — in the history of aviation — has always played a critical part in being a connection for an airline system."
John Freeman, director of customer service for Great Lakes Airlines, said the company is excited to offer more service here.
"I think we're pleased that we're able to add additional cities to our network," Freeman said.
Lewis said the airline made a commitment to Farmington last October to restore flight services because the city is considered a large market.
The restoration comes after a 2013 Federal Aviation Administration rule increased the number of training hours required for co-pilots, which resulted in a pilot shortage and a reduction in flights.
Lewis said Great Lakes has been operating a "robust flight schedule" in Farmington since Oct. 1 with only 13 flights cancelled between October and April. Of that number, 11 flights were cancelled due to weather in Denver during December, January and February, he said.
"That's a pretty phenomenal performance as far as making sure all flights fly," Lewis said.
The new Los Angeles service also comes after Great Lakes began utilizing a 30-seat turboprop aircraft in December.
"So, we've seen the number of passengers boarding (in Farmington) increase greatly since Oct. 1. We've already boarded more people in 2017 than we did for the entire year of 2016," Lewis said.
Jody Carman, an administrative assistant for the airport, said the facility will participate in the Jolt Your Summer Challenge from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, June 9. The challenge is a contest in which residents visit various locations around the city, and it is sponsored by the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The event will include mini tours of the airport and activities for children, Carman said.
"We like to see people look at aviation as a way to contemplate their future," Lewis said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.