WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today praised the U.S. Department of Transportation for approving a waiver that will allow Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) to remain part of the Essential Air Service program, which was created to guarantee that small communities served by certificated air carriers before airline deregulation maintain commercial service. Under the terms of the FAA Modernization Act of 2012, in order to maintain federal subsidies, communities must maintain an average of 10 enplanements or more per service day. HGR averaged more than 10 enplanements for most of the last decade with Cape Air providing service. The number dipped in 2013 during the transition to Sun Air, but the number has risen steadily since. In approving the one-year waivers allowing HGR and 21 other communities to remain part of the EAS, the FAA acknowledged that the decrease was temporary.
“Regional airports that service Maryland’s rural communities provide vital connections for our travelers and local economies, so I have worked for years to ensure that they receive essential and warranted federal support to continue achieving their critical missions,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Hagerstown and HGR alike are making considerable strides in growth and economic expansion, and this decisions helps maintain that momentum. I applaud the DOT for continually engaging in productive conversations about how we can best ensure quality air service to communities throughout Maryland, and applaud this decision to maintain HGR’s role in the Essential Air Service.”