THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) — Great Lakes Airline suspended its service from Thief River Falls in February, but the small northern Minnesota town has lost more than simply a few weekly flights.
The airline's suspension has cost a handful of residents their jobs and businesses say the lack of immediate air service hinders business and raises their travel costs. Employees and employers alike both say the air service was a crucial link to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond.
The airline also suspended service to other small towns across the Midwest such as Jamestown and Devils Lake, N.D., Ironwood, Mich., and Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Many others, including Pierre and Watertown, S.D., have seen diminished service as cancellation rates soared. The regional airline industry has blamed new federal regulations for pilots aimed at increasing airline safety.