If your dollars and mine weren’t at stake, I would probably have to refrain from criticizing or poking fun at the Essential Air Service. It’s like hunting cattle: it’s just not very sporting. That said, Ben Mutzabaugh shares a doozy of an EAS grant over at Today in the Sky. Hagerstown, Maryland, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, will both be getting Cape Air service (five times daily for Lancaster) to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Hagerstown is about seventy-five miles west of BWI and a similar distance northwest of Washington, D.C. Lancaster, which was aided a few years ago when Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation helped jury-rig the EAS qualifications, is ninety miles from BWI.
The ridiculous thing is that Lancaster is only a forty-five minute drive from Harrisburg International Airport, which has seven airlines serving thirteen destinations, eleven of which are major connecting hubs. “Major connections” is not what Lancaster and Hagerstown’s Cape Air passengers will enjoy at BWI: “‘Cape Air has ticket- and baggage-sharing agreements with all major airlines except Southwest and AirTran, so customers won’t need separate arrangements for separate legs of a trip.’ Of course, Southwest and AirTran are the top two carriers at BWI, so the lack of agreements with those two airlines will limit connecting possibilities out of BWI.”
Of course, the combined $2.6 million in subsidies for these cities isn’t even a rounding error these days, but come on. It’s a new year. Let’s have a new approach to small community air service.
Subsidies help Lancaster restore air service; Hagerstown also to get flights [Today in the Sky]