Essential Air Service Program



Subsidy Type


Committees of Jurisdiction

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

$302 FY 22 Budget Score (in mil.)
$3,020 FY 22-31 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 this program served 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 $187 per passenger even though it is little more than an hour drive to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. This cut does not include eliminating the program for Alaska.

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