Mesa Flying Out; Getting Ready for Great Lakes Airlines to Fly in

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Starting next week there will be no commercial flights out of Jonesboro.  As announced earlier in the year Mesa Air Group is pulling out and another company, Great Lakes Airlines, is taking over.

"June 29th is the last flight.  We will depart at 2:45 p.m. and there will no longer be service after that," said Mesa's Customer Service Representative in Jonesboro Brandon Eason>

A Department of Transportation ruling shows the airline was supposed to stay through July 21st but a representative for Mesa Air Group confirms to Region 8 News that they will be pulling out on Sunday.

Great Lakes Airlines is supposed to start service out of the Jonesboro Regional Airport but no one knows exactly when.

Brandon Eason is the Customer Service Manager for Mesa in Jonesboro and he said after Sunday the city will be without any commercial flights for a while.

"There's going to be some down time," said Eason.

"They're coming, but we are going to anticipate some time here without an airline," said Philip Steed.

Airport Manager Philip Steed said Great Lakes Airlines has been in contact with the airport but he hasn't been told an official start date.

"We had a guy come in about a week ago and he said the approximate day was the middle of August," said Eason.

But even without an official date they say they don't mind waiting if they have to.

"We're just appreciative of the fact we've got one coming.  We've just got to wait and be glad when it gets here," said Jonesboro Airport Commissioner George Stem.

There are several locations across the country the airline has contracted to serve that haven't opened up yet.

The Jonesboro Airport Commission said two of the biggest holdups they've heard of with Great Lakes is the high cost of fuel and the lack of airplanes.

"It is to my understanding that they are still gathering planes and pilots for this station and for other stations that they will be serving," said Steed.

The bottom line for this airport is that they get an airline flying in and out of the city.

"We are appreciative that the airlines are willing to come and take these small businesses and the airlines willing to subsidize them," said Stem.

We tried to contact Great Lakes Aviation to find out a tentative start of flight service time.  It is still unknown what the start up time will be for flights in and out of Jonesboro after Sunday.  When those flights do start they will go from Jonesboro to St. Louis instead of Jonesboro to Dallas.