- Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service (EAS) is a U.S. government program enacted to guarantee that small communities in the
United States, which, prior to deregulation, were served by certificated airlines, maintained commercial service. Its aim is to maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service to these communities that otherwise would not be profitable. This came in response to the Airline Deregulation Act, passed in 1978, which gave U.S. airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. [http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/X-50%20Role_files/essentialairservice.htm Essential Air Service Program] , U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)]
United States Department of Transportation(DOT) currently subsidizes airlines to serve approximately 140 ruralcommunities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service. The decision as to what degree of subsidized service a community requires is made based on identifying a specific hub for the community and from there determining the number of trips, seats, and type of aircraft that are necessary to reach that hub.
According to a "New York Times" article on the program, [cite news |first=Jeff |last=Bailey |title=Subsidies Keep Airlines Flying to Small Towns |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/06/business/06boonies.htm |publisher=
The New York Times|date= 2006-10-06|accessdate=2006-10-06] the subsidy per passenger, averaged across the entire program excluding Alaska, is approximately $74, and much higher on some particularly poorly-patronized flights. Patronage on many flights is very low. However, the program is politically popular in the cities receiving the subsidized flights, and Congressional panels expect the funding for the program to increase slightly to $114 million in 2007. However, the White Househas sought to reduce the cost of the program to $50 million by stricter eligibility criteria and requiring the local governments of the areas served to contribute to the cost.
The following tables list all subsidized routes under Essential Air Service as of October 1, 2008. They are based on the most recent Subsidized EAS Reports from the DOT Office of Aviation & International Affairs for all areas excluding Alaska [cite web |url=http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/X-50%20Role_files/080801nonalaska.htm |title=US Subsidized EAS Report - August 1, 2008 |work=U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation & International Affairs |accessdate=2008-10-01] and for Alaska itself. [cite web|url=http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/X-50%20Role_files/080801alaska.htm |title=Alaskan Subsidized EAS Report - 8/1/2008 |work=U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation & International Affairs |accessdate=2008-10-01] They have been updated to reflect changes which occurred since then, based on DOT orders found at the Federal Docket Management System. [cite web|url=http://www.regulations.gov/ |title=Regulations.gov |work=Federal Docket Management System] Docket and order numbers link to their respective pages on the docket management site, which typically includes the original files in PDF and other formats.
Areas excluding Alaska
* for airports subsidized by the EAS program.
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