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Thread: USA TODAY Article about rural flight subsidies

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003

    USA TODAY Article about rural flight subsidies


    Q. Have you flown into or is your fair city one of the
    152 rural communities with airline flights subsidized by the federal government's Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
    Other Highlights:
    Without the subsidies, the communities wouldn't have airline service, because the routes aren't profitable.

    The Essential Air Service program requires that a community be at least 70 miles from a large or midsize hub airport to qualify for a subsidy. But it's "a nice idea that's degenerated into a political boondoggle.

    other concerns about the program:
    - Fewer airlines participate.
    - Number of flights.
    - Aircraft requirements.
    - Unattractive airfares.
    - Unreliable flights and unattractive schedules.
    - A population shift from rural to urban areas.
    For further reading - the GAO report mentioned in the article:

    Would fly or drive to access a larger airport ?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
    Aug 2006
    Gone to a better place (in my mind)
    I don't see a problem with subsidizing portions of a transportation system so that everyone has access to it. There's little conceptual difference between this program and Amtrak subsidies or subsidies for bus service.

    There may be serious problems in the way the program is run, but that doesn't mean it should be discontinued. On-demand air taxi services haven't fared very well (look at DayJet), but perhaps with a consistent revenue stream not solely based on passenger fares they could have a chance. More traditional scheduled air taxi services can be profitable (look at Cape_Air, which has routes that are subsidized by EAS but derives most of its income from non-EAS sources), so removing minimum restrictons on airplane size might increase service to smaller airports under the EAS program.

    Also, since 1992 the cost of EAS has come from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, an analogue of the Highway Trust Fund, meaning that profitable airports and routes are subsidizing these unprofitable routes, not taxes from the general fund. Again, spending a small percentage of the Airport Trust Fund to subsidize service to small airports is similar (to me) to spending a small portion of the Highway Trust Fund to subsidize transit.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries

    Need an economic study.....

    They should pick a couple of these airports and do a complete economic impact analysis.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Apr 2006
    Promoting synergies...
    The EAS subsidy has declined to a point where if its not changed few airlines will take advantage. The airline industry is on the cusp of a huge shift. Even the "new carriers" are losing money abeit not as fast as the legacy carriers. Airlines will eventually shrink to profitability with a few carriers going away. Us Air and United are both cash poor, have terrible labor relations, and have old fleets. That is not a receipe for viability in this industry.

    Economic developers will say they cannot compete for projects unless they have commercial service within a 60 minute drive. This is true. It gets you out of the first round but if your airport does not serve the prospective companies needed market then you don't make the second round.

    The interesting part of the article was the brief mention of the AIP program. Without it many general aviation airports will close.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

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