Great Lakes: not enough planes for Montana

Helena, MT – Wyoming-based Great Lakes Airlines says it doesn't know when it can take over essential air service in Montana, because it doesn't have enough airplanes.

The U.S. Department of Transportation granted Great Lakes a no-bid contract to take over service from Big Sky Airlines. The department said it's urging the company to move as quickly as possible.

Essential air service is a federal subsidy to guarantee air routes in rural areas.

Some Montana representatives say a temporary shutdown of the routes will prove costly to local residents and airports.