Essential Air Service Program



Subsidy Type


Committees of Jurisdiction

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

$259 FY 16 Budget Score (in mil.)
$2,593 FY 16-25 Budget Score (in mil.)

The Essential Air Service (EAS) program was launched as a temporary program in the late 1970s and codified in 1994 to ease the transition to airline deregulation by subsidizing commercial flights to the nation’s rural airports. However, many of the cities served by this program can be found within reasonable driving distance from airports with unsubsidized flights. For example, the 50 minute flight from Lebanon, New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts receives a subsidy of $287 per passenger even though it is little more than an hour drive to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. EAS flight subsidies can reach $1,000 per passenger, per flight. This cut does not include eliminating the program for Alaska.

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