Mesaba Airlines has won the rights to keep serving airports in Mason City and Fort Dodge. Mason City Airport Manager Pam Osgood says federal transportation officials approved continuing subsidize airline flights through the E-A-S — Essential Air Service program. Osgood says the U.S. Department of Transportation chose Mesaba, the airlink carrier for Northwest Airlines, to serve Mason City and Fort Dodge as well for the next two-year period. “They have provided great service for our area over the last several years and we look for a continued good relationship with the airline.” Osgood says it’s been a long process for the town and the airport commission, with a long wait for the final choice. Several people had been calling every day to ask if the decision had been made yet. Osgood says, “We’re just thankful that the DOT decided to go with Mesaba.” However she says the DOT did cut back the plan, decide to subsidize 18 round trips, rather than 20 per week as outlined in Mesaba’s original proposal. In May, Mesa Airlines of Arizona submitted a bid to become the Essential Air Service Provider for Mason City and Fort Dodge and offered 18-round trip flights per week to Omaha. But Mesa’s plan involved smaller planes and would have cut the number of passengers traveling by air. Local officials say if they fail to board at least 10-thousand passengers a year, they’ll no longer qualify for the EAS funding, and would lose ticketed air service.