Fact Sheet

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What is Essential Air Service?

About this Document

Under this program, the Department determines the minimum level of service required at each eligible community by specifying a hub through which the community is linked to the national network, a minimum number of round trips and available seats that must be provided to that hub, certain characteristics of the aircraft to be used, and the maximum permissible number of intermediate stops to the hub.

The program's guidelines were codified by rulemaking as a Policy Statement of the Department in Volume 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 398. Where necessary, the Department pays subsidy to a carrier to ensure that the specified level of service is provided. Most eligible points, of course, do not require subsidized service; as of April 1, 2009, the Department was subsidizing service at 108 communities in the contiguous 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and 45 in Alaska.

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