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"Senate OKs Continued Federal Subsidies for Rural Air Service"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Senate OKs Continued Federal Subsidies for Rural Air Service 
By Kathryn A. Wolfe
Congressional Quarterly Today 

The Senate passed a bill that would continue a federal subsidy paid to
commercial airlines that fly into some rural airports.

The bill (S 2295), passed Oct. 30, would reauthorize the Essential Air
Service program for a year, presumably long enough for Congress to enact a
full four-year reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration programs.

The last FAA authorization expired at the end of September (PL 108-176), but
the agency's programs -- excluding some Essential Air Service subsidies --
have been extended through Nov. 16 as part of a continuing resolution (PL

The House has passed its four-year FAA bill (HR 2881), but the Senate has
not considered its version (S 1300).

The one-year Essential Air Service bill was introduced by Sen. Richard J.
Durbin, D-Ill., but was based on an initiative put forth by Sens. John
Thune, R-S.C. and Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md, aides said.

The service ensures that commercial airlines fly into small communities that
otherwise would not be served because the routes are not profitable enough.

"Essential Air Service is just that, essential," Thune said in a statement.
"It is essential to the people it serves and it is essential that we work
together to find a way to maintain commercial air service."

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