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JetBlue Awarded First-Ever Essential Air Service Contract

The airline will start the route in September.

A JetBlue E190 in Boston (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

After months of consideration, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) officially has a new air carrier in the EAS game: JetBlue. On June 4, 2024, the DOT selected JetBlue as the next EAS carrier in the community of Presque Isle, Maine. 

The contract of the current carrier, United, ended on May 31, 2024, but given the DOT didn’t come to a decision for this contract until June 4, the current carrier is required to stay until the new contract does start. 

JetBlue will serve the community with the contract starting on Sept. 1, 2024, and will run for two years until August 31, 2026. The annual subsidy rate will be $10,412,703 for the first year with service being offered onboard the 100-seat Embraer E190. Service for the second year will be $11,235,581 onboard the 140-seat Airbus A220. All flights will be operated from Presque Isle to the airline’s hub in Boston. 

This will also mark the first time either an Embraer or an Airbus aircraft has been scheduled to fly to an EAS community. Presque Isle also becomes the first EAS community in the lower 48 to receive daily connections onboard a mainline-sized aircraft to a connecting hub. Sun Country does fly mainline-sized aircraft to the EAS community of Eau Claire, but those flights are not daily.

Given the flights were just awarded by the DOT on Tuesday, they have not yet been put on sale yet. But, the start date of the flights is just under three months away so the carrier should be putting them on sale relatively soon.

All documents pertaining to this contract can be found on regulation.gov

Joey Gerardi

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