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Great Plains Airlines Adds Nonstop Routes to and from Austin.

Business Editors

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 8, 2003

Great Plains Airlines announced today it will begin serving Austin in March, giving travelers here more nonstop choices to cities throughout the Southwest.

Nonstop service will begin March 11 to and from Albuquerque, N.M., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Tulsa, Okla. Oklahoma City will be added March 18. Travelers can also connect to Alamogordo, N.M., and Taos, N.M., with brief stops in Albuquerque. Great Plains serves Nashville, Tenn., as well.

Also in March, Great Plains will begin service in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport. Austin travelers will be able to fly to Washington, D.C. with brief stops in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, without having to change planes. The airline has recently applied for slots which are coming open at Washington Reagan National Airport.

Today's announcement came at a news conference at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Several Austin city officials were on hand, as was Great Plains CEO Jack Knight.

"For too long, people traveling between Austin and one of our other cities have had to endure the delays and hassles of changing planes at hub airports," Knight said. "But Great Plains operates with a philosophy entirely different from the other airlines. Our strategy is to bypass the hubs, and offer nonstop and direct service to under-served markets. That's the model we've been using in other markets, and thus far it is has been met with great enthusiasm from travelers."

The Tulsa-based airline began operations in April 2001. Great Plains flies state-of-the-art Fairchild Dornier 328 regional jets, which seat 32 passengers. The airline plans to add four more 328 regional jets to its existing fleet by mid-February. The jets are under contract, and Great Plains will be leasing the planes.

Great Plains was started by a unique public-private relationship through tax-credits provided by the Oklahoma legislature, and a loan from the Tulsa Industrial Authority and Bank of Oklahoma. To be eligible for the tax credits, Great Plains relinquished its right to receive payments under the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program. The tax credit legislation required the City of Tulsa to put up property as collateral.

Great Plains in Austin will have 26 weekly flights to and from Albuquerque, 28 weekly flights to and from Colorado Springs, 38 weekly flights to and from Oklahoma City, and 50 to and from Tulsa.

Knight said fares will be competitive with other airlines, and that schedules will be business-friendly. He said Great Plains was started as an effort to retain and attract businesses for the state of Oklahoma, but creating jobs and expanding the tax base is a critical issue for Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Tennessee, as well. The easier it is to get to Austin, the more it also boosts tourism, he said.

Great Plains prides itself on efficiency and service, Knight said, adding that it is the only airline in the country that serves Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Arby's sandwiches on its flights.

For flight information and reservations, call your travel agent or toll-free 1 (866) Way To Go. For more information, visit www.gpair.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Jan 8, 2003
Words:516
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