August 02, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI SPONSOR LEGISLATION TO KEEP REGIONAL CARRIER AT HAGERSTOWN AIRPORT

Susan Sullam: 420-962-4436

 

 



WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski today introduced legislation that would require AirMidwest/MESA to maintain service to the Hagerstown Regional-Richard A. Henson Field until Jan. 1, 2008 or until an alternate carrier can be identified. AirMidwest/MESA has said it will stop service to Hagerstown Regional Airport on Sept. 30, 2007.

 

The Senators have attached their proposal to an earlier bill that would extend the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program to help sustain commercial air service to Hagerstown and three other airports.   The program is set to expire Sept. 30, 2007.

 

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 allowed airlines to provide air service to domestic markets as they saw fit, but Congress had the foresight to create the EAS Program to ensure a minimal level of scheduled air service in small communities.   Without the EAS Program, smaller communities would be much more likely to lose airline service.

 

"The Hagerstown Regional Airport is an essential transportation hub for Washington County and the entire western Maryland region.   I am committed to ensuring that the EAS Program is extended and that a viable carrier continues to service the Hagerstown Airport.   The residents and businesses in Western Maryland must have to scheduled air service," said Senator Cardin.

  

"Our regional airports play a key role in maintaining Maryland's robust economy," said Mikulski.  "The Hagerstown Regional Airport is critical to keeping Western Maryland's economy moving.  I will continue to fight to keep Marylanders on the go and for a federal investment in our Western Maryland communities."

 

The bill ensures that certain mileage calculations used to determine the EAS Program eligibility are certified by states rather than federal regulators.   In addition to affecting Hagerstown, the extension also would affect Brookings, S.D., and Lancaster, PA.