U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Collin Peterson today announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has selected Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide Essential Air Service to Thief River Falls. Earlier this year, Delta Airlines announced they would suspend service to Thief River Falls as well as other greater Minnesota airports. Klobuchar, Franken and Peterson worked closely with Thief River Falls officials to ensure continued air service to the community.
"Air service to Thief River Falls has helped families connect with one another and enabled local businesses to find opportunities and partners in other parts of the country, and even internationally," Klobuchar said. "I worked closely with the airport and community to ensure that this service would continue, and today's announcement is a step forward to ensure that Minnesotans have safe and reliable air service. I will continue to work with greater Minnesota airports to address their concerns and fight for this essential service."
"Minnesota's small businesses are the key to job creation in this state, but they need access to reliable air service in order to create the jobs our country needs to grow and get back on its feet," said Sen. Franken. "Regional airports like the one in Thief River Falls are critical to our efforts to attract and create jobs because they connect Minnesotans to the rest of the state and the rest of the world. I'm pleased that Great Lakes Aviation has been selected to provide this crucial service to Thief River Falls and the surrounding region."
"It's good news that the Thief River Falls region will continue to have air service for the people and businesses who rely on it," Peterson said. "Essential Air Service is critical to many parts of rural America, especially in these tough economic times."
In July, Klobuchar wrote a letter to Delta Airlines urging the company to ensure continued service to greater Minnesota airports by either reconsidering its plans to reduce service or finding alternative carriers to replace Delta. Klobuchar serves on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Aviation, which has jurisdiction over the nation's aviation system and all U.S. airline carriers.
Also in July, Sen. Franken wrote to Delta Airlines and pushed Senate negotiators to fully fund community air service to communities all over Minnesota, saying that air service is critical to the efforts of small communities to create jobs and economic development.