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December 11, 2023
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The US government is under financial pressure not seen before in most people’s lifetimes.  Every American realizes we are in tradeoff territory – we need to spend money where it does most good, or at least minimal damage.  Perhaps we cannot even afford even the minimal damage.  In light of this reality, we ask whether Essential Air Service (EAS) is worth keeping?

We are not alone; take a read here.  How can it make sense for tax payers to support the EAS program?  “The travelers paid $70 to $90 for a one-way ticket. The cost to taxpayers for each ticket: $4,107.” This is nuts, even if its for a few people. How can one consider providing this kind of subsidized air transport?  If people chose to live in rural areas they should surely understand the fact that the rest of the economy is not going to follow them unless there is a manifest economic reason to do this. Rural communities are probably already requiring other sorts of economic support – like subsidized phone service.  How does this make sense?

While the EAS program costs “only” $200m, that money has better use elsewhere.  Like fixing highways that the rest of the nation needs and uses.  There have to be a myriad examples where this money could benefit more of the population.  EAS does not look like an investment worth keeping – it is a hole that will never fill, ever. Remember EAS was a ten year program  – now it has developed a life of its own.  There are too many vested interests in keeping it going. The vested interests in using the money someplace else is not being heard.

The reason we have ghost towns in old mining areas is because those communities moved on as the reason for the community’s existence stopped.  This sounds harsher than intended. People are not sentenced to live in rural areas, they choose to do this and that’s fine.  America, home of the free and all that. If a somebody decides to opt out of the broader economy, good luck.  Tax payers do not have to sponsor convenient air access.

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3 thoughts on “Essential Air Service – Is it Time to Stop?

  1. Hey, y’all… I’ll move to Ely with my Pilatus and I’ll charge y’all only $3000 per passenger — when and if they want to fly!

  2. Agree completely. Furthermore, many airports that do receive EAS service are within a reasonable driving distance of another airport with unsubsidized service, but that isn’t classified as a “hub”. EAS hurts the economics of the unsubsidized airport.

    EAS is wasteful and should be stopped.

  3. Well, this seems obvious but not a wise idea, particularly on the long run.
    Such programs are one of the reason for the strong US air transport economy and vivacity.

    If one want to make significant savings, he should delete a dozen or two of F35 from the wish list as well as a a dozen of KC-46.

    You should save more, even on the sort run…

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