Tester announces new Sidney, Lewistown EAS schedule

Great Lakes Aviation to resume air service on September 3

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – After working closely with Great Lakes Aviation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Senator Jon Tester today announced a new Essential Air Service (EAS) schedule for Sidney and Lewistown.

Great Lakes Aviation plans to resume daily EAS service to Sidney and Lewistown through Denver beginning September 3. The Wyoming-based airline took over Montana's EAS contract after Big Sky Airlines went out of business earlier this year.

Great Lakes released the schedule after Tester and Senator Max Baucus worked together to keep Essential Air Service in Montana. Both Senators have been in contact with Great Lakes. Tester called Great Lakes President Doug Voss to discuss the importance of EAS. Last month Tester also told U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to speed up the process when it became clear thatGreat Lakeswould not resume Montana's EAS by July 1.

Here is Great Lakes' new flight schedule, effective September 3:

LEWISTOWN TO DENVER(stopover in Worland, Wyo.):

Flight 5140 Departs 6:00 a.m. Arrives 8:45 a.m. Sunday-Friday

Flight 5140 Departs 7:05 a.m. Arrives 9:45 a.m. Saturday

Flight 5174 Departs 2:40 p.m. Arrives 5:20 p.m. Monday-Friday

DENVERTO LEWISTOWN(stopover in Worland, Wyo.):

Flight 5181 Departs 11:33 a.m. Arrives 2:25 p.m. Monday-Friday

Flight 5145 Departs 4:00 p.m. Arrives 6:52 p.m. Saturday

Flight 5145 Departs 6:52 p.m. Arrives 9:44 p.m. Sunday-Friday

SIDNEYTO DENVER(stopover in Gillette, Wyo., or Chadron, Neb.):

Flight 5012 Departs 6:00 a.m. Arrives 8:37 a.m. Monday-Friday

Flight 5012 Departs 6:59 a.m. Arrives 9:36 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

Flight 5130 Departs 12:59 p.m. Arrives 3:49 p.m. Daily

DENVERTO SIDNEY(stopover in Gillette, Wyo., or Chadron, Neb.):

Flight 5173 Departs 10:00 a.m. Arrives 12:44 p.m. Daily

Flight 5027 Departs 4:05 p.m. Arrives 6:40 p.m. Saturday

Flight 5027 Departs 6:57 p.m. Arrives 9:32 p.m. Sunday-Friday

Great Lakes also plans to add a flight from Sidney to Billings as well as service to Miles City through Denver.

Tester said he is still working closely with Great Lakes and the Department of Transportation to resume service to Havre, Glasgow, Wolf Point and Glendive.

"Essential Air Service isn't simply about convenience," Tester said. "It's about making sure folks in ruralMontanahave quick access to health care when they need it most. It's about shortening distances for folks who do business acrossMontana, which strengthens our economy. And it's about bringing new opportunities to smaller communities across our state."

"The Essential Air Service got its name because these flights are indeed, essential," Baucus said. "They are vital to small town life. They bring dollars into the economy, help create good paying jobs and making sure folks in rural Montana get everything they need to live, work and raise a family under the Big Sky. This is great news."