Commercial air service is vital to Fort Dodge

The decision by Great Lakes Airlines to suspend temporarily service to Fort Dodge Regional Airport is distressing.

For more than half a century there has been scheduled airline service at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport. Those commercial flights coupled with the airport’s state-of-the-art facilities for corporate and charter traffic help keep the region prosperous.

Relatively few communities the size of Fort Dodge could boast of air service that matches what existed here until Saturday. This was not simply a matter of convenience for the infrequent traveler. Restoring service quickly is imperative. It is vital to the plans to keep major employers here and attract new ones.

Businesses tend to locate in spots that afford executives and sales representatives, as well as clients and customers, easy access to air travel. It is not an accident that major companies tend to be located close to airports.

Scheduled air service – as well as the airport’s excellent facilities for corporate and charter flights – can give Fort Dodge and other area communities an edge in the increasingly tough competition to keep and attract the companies that can make our economy grow.

The inescapable truth is that even those Fort Dodgers who never personally board a plane here have an enormous stake in the success of the Fort Dodge Regional Airport. The economic prospects of our town and the prosperity of neighboring communities are enhanced by the presence of commercial air service and a well-run, up-to-date airport.

Great Lakes apparently is experiencing difficulty employing enough pilots to staff the routes to which it is committed. Unless this problem can be rectified promptly, city and airport officials should begin the process of finding a replacement airline.