Great Lakes hires Raymond James for strategic evaluation

Washington DC
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Great Lakes Airlines has engaged Raymond James to advise it on financing options and strategic alternatives, as the regional carrier looks towards its future.

Raymond James will also evaluate the Cheyenne, Wyoming-based carrier’s business and fleet configuration under the scope of the agreement, which was announced on 30 June.

Great Lakes reduced the number of seats on its Beechcraft B1900D aircraft to nine from 19 after it received new operating specifications from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March. The specifications allowed it to hire pilots for aircraft operating in the shrunken configuration and came after it was forced to cut flights when new 1,500h pilot training rules that went into force earlier in 2014.

The airline also operates 30-seat Embraer 120 Brasilia aircraft.

Great Lakes may be considering acquiring used regional jets. In an application for an essential air service (EAS) subsidy in June, the carrier said that it could upgrade its flights to 37 seat or larger regional jets in the future. This would occur if it can return its B1900Ds to a 19-seat configuration, it added.

The airline could acquire some of the Embraer ERJ135s, ERJ140s and ERJ145s that mainline carriers are removing from their regional fleets. American Airlines removed its last ERJ135s from its fleet in 2013 and plans to remove 40 ERJ140s in 2014, while United Airlines is removing its last nine ERJ135s and 34 ERJ145s in 2014.

Great Lakes operates 28 B1900Ds and six EMB-120s, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows.