Throughout the country, rural communities depend on their airports to maintain economic growth and stability.
Earlier this month, President Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) re-authorization into law, a measure that will extend support for small airports across the nation.
Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are praising the passage. The FAA re-authorization extends the Essential Air Service Program, which is critical for rural communities like Hagerstown, Maryland, and Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Essential Air Service program funded through the Department of Transportation provides critical air service that connects rural airports to major airport hubs. Last year, it contributed nearly $1.5 million to Hagerstown Regional Airport.
“It’s important when you talk to folks in the Hagerstown business community, they believe that that connection which are flights to both BWI and to Pittsburgh are really important to bringing folks into Hagerstown who are interested in doing business,” said Van Hollen.
“Marylanders depend upon their airports… without the essential air service, can they maintain the viability of that airport which means economic growth for that region. So if you’re trying to get to and from Hagerstown, you need to have some commercial flights… this will make it much easier for them to maintain that,” said Cardin.
The funds are provided by the Department of Transportation – paid directly to the airline providing subsidized service at Hagerstown Regional Airport.