Date: August 30, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Over two decades ago, Congress deregulated the airline industry, phasing out the federal government's control over domestic fares and routes served and allowing market forces to determine the price, quantity, and quality of service. Concerned that air service to some small communities would suffer in a deregulated environment, Congress established the Essential Air Service (EAS) program as part of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. The act guaranteed that communities served by air carriers before deregulation would continue to receive a certain level of scheduled air service. As of July 1, 2002, the EAS program provided subsidies to air carriers to serve 114 communities--79 in the continental United States and another 35 in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. From 1995 to July 2002, the net member of EAS-subsidized communities increased by four in the continental United States. Several factors--including increasing carrier costs, limited passenger revenue, and increasing numbers of eligible communities requiring subsidized service--are likely to affect potential future subsidy requirements of the EAS program. GAO identified and evaluated major categories of options to enhance the long-term viability of the EAS program, each of which has associated potential ...
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