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Published July 12, 2012, 02:54 PM

Great Lakes Airlines Expands to TRF, Devils Lake

(WDAZ-TV) - Great Lakes Airlines has been around for a few decades and now its making a name for itself here in the upper midwest. The airline recently expanded to both Thief River Falls and Devils Lake.

(WDAZ-TV) - Great Lakes Airlines has been around for a few decades and now its making a name for itself here in the upper midwest.

The airline recently expanded to both Thief River Falls and Devils Lake.

Great Lakes is an independent air carrier, even though it has relationships with bigger airlines such as Delta.

Company executives say working with smaller tight-knit communities is more rewarding and allows the airline to focus and meet the needs of each passenger.

Company executives say they're all about bringing small communities quality air service while boosting the population.

"In the Thief River, the dakotas, Iowa are all experiencing boom areas, there's a lot of economic growth--lots of new industries moving in and we like to feel we're part of that," Great Lake CEO Charles Howell said.

The airline believes the most important highway in a small city is--the runway.

"Buy me a mile a highway you go nowhere, buy me a mile a runway you can go anywhere in the world," Howell said.

Executives see the small airline as an advantage over a larger commercial company.

"Basically try to partner with every community that we serve, we're chamber of commerce members in every city that we serve," Public Relations Director Monica Taylor said.

And it understands tending to a family of four isn't why people fly Great Lakes--the focus is more on the businessman who flies locally.

"We understand that there are some niches that we serve and some that we don't," Taylor said.

At the Great Lakes Airline Headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the airline is making efforts to expand and improve service to both Thief River Falls and Devils Lake.

"Currently we're trying to stay focused on the big chunk of the pie that we just inherited," Howell said.

"It's one of those things where unfortunately we did have to work out some kinks and we are still continuing to do that and we're constantly trying to make the service as optimal as we can," Taylor said.

And wherever the airline expands in the future, it says convenience is the key.

"The ability to not only buy local but fly local and in this case to the MSP hub and multiple connections," Howell said.

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