Great Lakes Aviation Ltd  (GLUX)
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    Sector  Transportation    Industry Airline
   Industry Airline
   Sector  Transportation

Great Lakes Aviation Ltd

Business Description

We were incorporated on October 25, 1979 as an Iowa corporation and became a publicly traded company in January 1994. We commenced scheduled air service operations on October 12, 1981. Great Lakes Airlines currently operates hubs at Denver, CO, Los Angeles, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Phoenix, AZ.
We are a regional airline operating as an independent carrier and as a code share partner with United Air Lines. Our code share agreement allows our mutual customers to purchase connecting flights through our code share partner and to share other benefits such as baggage transfer and frequent flyer benefits (in certain instances), while the Company maintains its own branding on our planes and ticket counters and our own designator code on all our flights. In addition to our code share agreement and independent branding, the Company has developed electronic ticketing (e-ticket) interline agreements with American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.

We derived approximately 51% of our total revenue from the EAS program in the year ended December 31, 2014, which is administered by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The EAS program was instituted under the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (the “Deregulation Act”), which allowed airlines greater freedom to introduce, increase, and generally reduce or eliminate service to existing markets. Under the EAS program, certain communities are guaranteed specified levels of “essential air service.” In order to promote the provision of essential air services, the DOT may authorize the payment of federal subsidies to compensate an air carrier that is providing essential air services in otherwise unprofitable or minimally profitable markets.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was enacted into law on February 14, 2012. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 reaffirmed the Congressional commitment to the continuance of the Essential Air Service program. The EAS program obtains a portion of the funding through annual Congressional appropriations.
An airline serving a community that qualifies for essential air services is required to give the DOT advance notice before the airline may discontinue, suspend, or reduce service. Depending on the circumstances, the DOT may require the continuation of existing service until a replacement carrier is found. EAS rates are normally set for two-year periods for each city. Significant fluctuations in passenger traffic, fares and associated revenues, as well as fluctuations in fuel and other costs, may cause EAS routes to become unprofitable during these two-year terms. Near the end of the two year term for EAS service to a particular city, the DOT will request service proposals from the Company and competitive proposals from other airlines. Proposals, when requested, are evaluated on, among other things, the level of service provided, the amount of subsidy requested, the fitness of the applicant, and comments from the communities served.

United Airlines. We have operated under ticket revenue proration code share agreements with United Airlines since April 1992. On May 1, 2001, we transitioned from a United Express branded code share agreement to a unique code share agreement that provides United with code share marketable access to all seats on Great Lakes aircraft where the United code share product can provide our mutual customers connecting opportunities and access to all of the benefits of the United product line including convenient baggage transfer and United’s frequent flyer program. The Company and United entered into a new code share agreement on September 1, 2011. Terms of the agreement provide for the Company to continue United Airlines code sharing for destinations the Company services to and from our Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix, AZ hubs.
Frontier Airlines. We operated under a code share agreement with Frontier Airlines (Frontier) from May, 2001 through September 30, 2014. Effective October 1, 2014, our code share and interline e-ticketing agreements with Frontier were terminated due to Frontier’s migration to an ultra-low cost carrier which no longer provides for interline agreements.
During 2014, we estimate that approximately 38% of Great Lakes’ passenger traffic utilized the United code share product line and approximately 19% of Great Lakes’ passenger traffic utilized the Frontier code share product line.

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