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Merced Regional Airport Will No Longer Be Providing Commercial Air Service to McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas
The Merced Regional Airport will no longer offer service to Las Vegas through Great Lakes Airlines after March 31. The service is being eliminated after Great Lakes Airlines lost its essential air service contract in Ely, Nev., an annual loss of $2 million in subsidies. Without the subsidy Great Lakes Airlines could no longer afford to operate out of both McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS) and Los Angeles International (LAX) due to the high operating costs at LAS. For the same reason, Visalia Airport will also lose service to LAS.
Ron Elliott, Merced Regional Airport Manager, said Great Lakes Airlines has been a wonderful service provider to Merced and will continue offering service to Los Angeles International Airport -- twice daily, seven days a week. Additionally, LAX provides substantially more connecting service to multiple destinations both domestically and internationally.
Essential air service is a program instituted to provide rural communities commercial flights to medium and large-sized airports at least twice a day. To qualify the communities must be located more than 70 miles from a medium to large hub airport, Elliott said.
Elliott said it's unclear if the service to Las Vegas will return to Merced. "We always hope that we'll get it back, but the safe thing to say right now is we really don't know," he said.
Travelers affected by the changes should contact Great Lakes Airlines by calling (800) 554-5111 to make alternative arrangements.
Additional information about Great Lakes Airlines is available at www.flygreatlakes.com