AVLAirlineFreq From United States of America, joined exactly 5 years ago today! , 812 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 809 times:
I'm not starting this topic with the intention of rehashing a familiar a.net discussion, nor am I attempting to make a point about the effectiveness of EAS funding. I'm just seeking to understand something that I've never completely understood.
Can someone elaborate on the criteria as to why some airports are included in the eligibility for Essential Air Service, and others are not? Is it completely based upon whether an airport had commercial air service in 1978 when the industry was deregulated in the US? For example, Hot Springs, AR is an EAS airport, while Bowling Green, KY is not. Both are about the same size city, and are almost the exact same distance from a relatively major airport (LIT and BNA, respectively). I realize LIT doesn't have the same level of service as BNA, but it's still robust.
There are numerous other similar examples around the country that I could cite, but the key criteria appears to be that HOT had certificated commercial air service in 1978 and BWG did not (even though BWG appears to have had service briefly from Air Kentucky in the mid-1970s). Is that it? Or is there something else considered?
knope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2569 posts, RR: 31 Reply 3, posted (10 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 657 times:
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1): DOT has website about EAS. Have you checked it out?
Kind of you to post those links
Quoting AVLAirlineFreq (Reply 2): I'm surprised some of the criteria haven't changed more over time given the changes in commercial air service over the last 35 years.
Actually, the criteria has been tightened a number of times in the past 35 years, and that's largely what has lead to over 60 cities losing their EAS subsidy. In general terms, this is the current criteria for all states but Alaska:
--Must have been served by a certified air carrier as of 10/24/78. (Back in those days, that meant big airlines like United or Delta, a "local service" airline like Ozark or Piedmont, or one of a small handful of the biggest "commuter" airlines which had received Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, including Air New England and Air Wisconsin. Most commuters were not "certified" back then, so the scores of small communities served by most commuters back then are not in EAS.)
--Must be more than 70 driving miles from a medium or large hub airport.
--Must have a per-passenger subsidy under $200 if it is 71-210 miles from a medium or large hub airport.
I believe many of these constraints were added or tightened in the late 80's and again in the 90's, which led to many cities losing EAS subsidy in waves then. As far as what cities are covered, there have been some exceptions which were not served by a certified carrier in 1978 which were (or still are) subsidized by EAS, including Fergus Falls MN and Moab UT. But with a few exceptions like those, and the tightening constraints, EAS keeps planes flying at airports which were served by certified carriers in 1978.
All of that is no statement on the importance of, or evils of, the program. Just what it is.