Susan Sullam: 420-962-4436
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin today joined in introducing legislation that would extend a provision in the 2002 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization that could help sustain commercial air service to Hagerstown Regional-Richard A. Henson Field, which is set to expire in Sept. 30, 2007. The extension would be for an additional five years until September 2012.
The bill, S. 922, ensures that certain mileage calculations used to determine Essential Air Service (EAS) Program eligibility are certified by states rather than federal regulators. The extension would affect three airports: Hagerstown, Brookings, S.D., and Lancaster, PA.
"The Hagerstown Regional Airport is an essential transportation hub for Washington County and the entire western Maryland region. I want to ensure that residents and businesses in Western Maryland continue to have access to air service," said Sen. Cardin.
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.