Airline, Parent Company Reject Buyout Offer By Employees

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Big Sky Airlines has rejected a buyout offer from employees, and will cease operations on March 8th.

Big Sky President Fred deLeeuw says the airline’s assets may be liquidated, or sold to an out-of-state operator. He says the parent company – MAIR Holdings – will cease to exist in six to eight months.

MAIR executives have rebuffed an offer by Phoenix Acquisition LLC – a company formed by Big Sky employees – to buy the airline and keep it flying in Montana. DeLeeuw says the offer did not make economic sense.

Wyoming-based Great Lakes Aviation is taking over Big Sky’s Essential Air Service routes in Montana – but won’t be ready to fly them until at least July, due to a lack of pilots and planes. That means seven Eastern Montana cities will have no regularly scheduled air passenger service for several months.