Rural Airport Support

If you’re trying to reach rural destinations for business travel, you may be impacted by potential changes to the Essential Air Service Program (EAS).

152 rural communities have airline flights that are subsidized by EAS.  $123 million of taxpayer money will go to airlines to fly roughly 1 million passengers in and out of the 152 communities this year.  Without EAS the communities wouldn’t have airline service because the routes aren’t profitable for airlines.

The EAS program is controversial.  Critics say the number of people flying doesn’t justify the expense.  Some people that benefit from the program, like business travelers, think the idea is noble, but government execution of the program isn’t up to par.

The Transportation Department, which administers the program, stated in September 2009 that it will evaluate the EAS program.  It is believed that air taxis or ground transportation might be better for rural communities then the existing program.  Funding decisions for EAS will be discussed by congress most likely before it recesses for the year.

What are your thoughts about EAS?  Are you using airports receiving EAS support?  How will changes to EAS effect your business travel?

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