Delta, Devils Lake Reach Plan on Air Service

WASHINGTON - Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad, Congressman Rick Berg and Governor Jack Dalrymple today said that Delta Air Lines and Devils Lake have arrived at a plan that would include Great Lakes Airlines starting regular air service to the city on or before January 1. Delta officials say they hope to be able to finalize an agreement with Great Lakes Airlines by next Tuesday. The North Dakota leaders continue to work toward a long-term solution. 

The delegation and governor say Delta has offered a plan whereby the airline will suspend air service to Devils Lake until the first of January, when Great Lakes Airlines will begin serving the city. All passengers who are booked into or out of Devils Lake until then will receive 25,000 flyer miles, enough for a free round-trip ticket, or a $300 ticket voucher. The airline will continue to provide shuttle service for passengers to and from Grand Forks as needed. 

Further, the airline will work with the community to make sure the public is aware of the temporary arrangement.

The company also says it has moved a deicer truck to Jamestown Airport, where recent flights have been canceled because the equipment wasn’t available. 

“We have continued to push Delta to provide reliable service to the community, and this is a plan they’ve proposed to the mayor and airport authority until Great Lakes Airlines is up and running, expectedly on or before January 1,” the delegation and governor said. 

Earlier this week the North Dakota leaders called on Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to put pressure on Delta Airlines to meet their contractual obligations by resuming timely and efficient air service into and out of Devils Lake and Jamestown. They asked the DOT to impose penalties and fines should Delta fail to continue its service. 

Last week, Delta started using regional jets to serve the area due to its retirement of the Saab prop plane, which previously served the communities.  The North Dakota leaders noted that between Thursday and Monday of last week, only one out of 11 scheduled flights operated in Devils Lake.  Delta said that in certain weather conditions it cannot land the jet because the runway is too short. It is currently busing or cabbing passengers to Grand Forks when flights are cancelled, a practice the North Dakota leaders have called unacceptable.