U.S. Essential Air Service
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The four largest airline participating in Essential Air Service contracts, TOP: Southern Airways Express C208, Cape Air C402 ; BOTTOM. Boutique PC12 , SkyWest CRJ200 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Essential Air Service: What It Is and Why It's Needed

Every year, people around the country pay their taxes and begin to complain about which government programs are necessary and which are not. And every year the same question comes up: why does the government shell out millions of dollars in federal aid to airlines in order to fly — in some cases empty aircraft — to cities nobody has ever heard of? Because it’s essential. History of EAS Essential Air Service has played an interesting role in this country…

Contour Adds Six New Destinations

SkyWest has had a rough couple of months, they requested to end 31 EAS contracts in the spring of 2022 and have combined about a dozen other communities into tag flights. It is seen in the industry that when one airline has its troubles, other airlines will step in and…

SkyWest/United Express Cut Another City

Back in the Spring of 2022 SkyWest, under the United Express brand, requested to terminate 31 Essential Air Services (EAS) communities. In some of these communities, SkyWest has already left and new carriers have come in, like the community of Alamosa in Colorado. While some cities still have SkyWest but…

Sun Country Schedules First-of-its-Kind EAS Flight

In mid-July 2022, the Department of Transportation posted a document selecting Sun Country as the airline that will serve the Essential Air Service of Eau Claire in Wisconsin. When the DOT decision was made it was a shock to most as there has never been an aircraft this large operating…

Delta Follows Other Major Airlines Adding “Tag Routes”

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has made it through the pandemic without starting a single tag route. Other airlines such as United, American, Alaska, and others combined destinations into a single flight to save costs during the pandemic due to severely light passenger loads. SkyWest under the United Express banner combined…

Sun Country Selected for Essential Air Service Contract

Essential Air Service (EAS), the government-funded program providing air service to small communities around the U.S., has been in the newS a lot recently. With new contracts being selected almost every month around the country, and SkyWest requesting to terminate more than 30 of these contracts, it is a very…

Denver Air Connection Announces 14th, 15th Destinations

Denver Air Connection — more commonly known as DAC — is a Colorado-based airline that has pushed a rapid expansion  over the past two years and is showing no signs of slowing down. The carrier has announced two new destinations, both of which are located in the carrier's home state…

The Proposals for 31 EAS Communities SkyWest is Leaving

SkyWest recently requested the termination of 31 Essential Air Service (EAS) contracts, and the process of refilling those contracts has reached the stage airlines submit proposals to the Department of Transportation, and community and industry members can comment on them. The proposals were originally due on April 11i, but the due date…

Southern Airways Express Expands Again with New Merger

Palm Beach, Fla.-based Southern Airways Express has been growing immensely since its founding in 2013, with its most recent rapid growth being only two months ago in March of 2022 when it acquired Air Choice One. This recent news will be its sixth merger or acquisition as it was announced…

Contour Airlines Adds Service to Two EAS Cities Vacated By…

The U.S. Essential Air Service has seen some strain recently as three airlines — the most recent carrier being Cape Air — requested to terminate at least two of their contracts before they were due to expire. As a result, the government has been forced to look for other operators to…