This portfolio for Great Lakes Airlines will give business details about the airline’s operations and finances. It includes a brief history, financial performance and current economic standing, route structure and airport hub strategies, aircraft scheduling and fleet management, personnel, pricing schemes and fare wars, marketing, codeshares and alliances, and charter, freight, and contract services.
Great Lakes Airlines has been operating for almost 30 years, although the name has not always been the same. It started out as Spirit Lake Airways in 1977, providing charter flights, flight instruction, and aircraft maintenance out of Spirit Lake, Iowa. In 1981, with the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 having removed all restrictions on “entry into domestic service” (Wensveen, 2011), Great Lakes was free to fly its first scheduled passenger flight. In August of 1985, the airline began landing at Chicago O’Hare airport through a lottery type system that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses to assign landing slots at busy airports. The next big step for the airline was in 1988 when they “acquired Alliance Airlines’ route structures and its Chicago O’Hare landing slots, greatly enhancing the company’s presence at Chicago O’Hare” (Great Lakes Airlines, 2014). From there, Great Lakes went on to secure landing slots at Denver’s Stapleton Airport in 1991. Despite the decline in regional carriers in the early 90’s, in 1994 this airline managed to go public with its stocks and use the profits to purchase larger aircraft. After operating like this for a few more years, Great Lakes Aviation became a regional partner with United Airlines, flying routes to cities in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska under the name United Express. This continued on until 2001 when they split from United and became Great Lakes Airways. They negotiated a code-share agreement with United and a few other airlines, one of which was Frontier Airlines. This new independent airline has operated successfully ever since and has come so far as to set up Interline Electronic Ticketing agreements with some major commercial carriers.
Financial Performance and Current Economic Standing
Great Lakes Airlines financials, as maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), go back to 1996. At this time, Great Lakes operated under three different names: United Express, Midway Connection, and Great Lakes Airlines. In 1997, the airline was served with a consent order due to some unsafe maintenance practices and stopped operations temporarily in May of 1997 and was fined $1M. It was only required to pay $300,000 of this fine as they demonstrated their ability to meet the requirements during periodic inspections over the next year. In 1997, it stopped operating under the name Midway Connection and continued to operate under the other two monikers; however, in 1998 there was only one route flown as Great Lakes Airlines, the rest were as...