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Big Sky Airlines cuts Idaho Falls service

January 4, 2003View for printing

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Barely more than three months after it began providing air service between Idaho Falls and Denver, Big Sky Airlines has announced it is pulling out.

Associated Press Billings Gazette

"Traffic has just not materialized the way we thought it would," said Kim Champney, president of the Billings, Mont.-based carrier. "We felt it best to just cut our losses at this point."

Big Sky's last flight out of Idaho Falls will be Jan. 13.

Idaho Falls Airport Manager Mike Humberd said he was disappointed by Big Sky's decision to pull out.

"Three months is not enough time to figure out something is not going to work," he said.

Numbers from the Idaho Falls airport from mid-September to just after Thanksgiving show Big Sky was averaging about five or six passengers per flight.

Big Sky was bought in the fall by Mesaba Holdings, a Minnesota-based regional air carrier affiliated with Northwest Airlines.

Idaho Falls is also served by Delta Connection carrier SkyWest and Horizon Air.

Expanding air service into Idaho Falls has been a priority for the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council, said council president Jim Bowman.

"I'm extremely disappointed," he said. "I think they didn't have the wherewithal to hang in there until folks could realize they were available and plan accordingly."

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.

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