The latest budget proposed by president Bush outlines a big cut in funding for the federal E-A-S program that subsidizes “Essential Air Service” to towns with relatively few travelers. That money is aimed at keeping airlines from pulling their service, and Fort Dodge airport manager Rhonda Chambers explains the money goes to the airline, not the city or local airport.Chambers says it’ll be up to the airline, depending on whether they’re losing money, to decide if they continue service to a community if they don’t get the EAS subsidy. Chambers says after nine-11, the grounding of flights and people’s distaste for travel, EAS got a big boost to help keep air service at many local airports. After September eleventh she says airlines have to “find out where their markets are” so the EAS is important to helping cities keep air service. Iowa has eight commercial-service airports served by airlines or their regional airlink carriers.
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