Essential air service : changes in passenger traffic, subsidy levels, and air carrier costs
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Essential air service : changes in passenger traffic, subsidy levels, and air carrier costs

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    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Human Factors
  • Abstract:
    Over two decades have passed since the Congress phased out the federal government's control over airfares and service. Concerned that air service to some small communities would suffer in a deregulated environment, the Congress established the Essential Air Service (EAS) program as part of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 and made special provisions for providing this service in Alaska. The objective of the EAS program, administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT), is to ensure that small communities that had received scheduled passenger air service before deregulation continued to have access to the nation’s air transportation system. DOT does this by awarding subsidies to carriers willing to provide service to communities that would not otherwise receive it. Recently, we issued a report on changes in the subsidy levels and costs for the EAS program in 1999 compared with 1995. Our testimony today, which is based on information developed for that report, focuses on three major topics: (1) changes in the number of communities and passengers receiving subsidized service, (2) changes in the level of subsidies provided, and (3) reasons why the subsidy levels changed.
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