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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…