Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune along with Senator Tim Johnson today introduced S.922. The bill extends a provision in the 2002 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization that could help sustain commercial air service to Brookings, which is scheduled to expire in September 2007. The bill ensures that certain mileage calculations used to determine Essential Air Service (EAS) program eligibility are certified by states' Governors rather than bureaucrats in Washington, DC.

"The Essential Air Service program is especially important in rural states like South Dakota. Ensuring access in and out of these smaller communities makes our local economies stronger, provides consumers with greater choices, and makes the entire commercial airline network more valuable," said Thune. "I am happy that Senator Johnson is joining me in this fight to preserve air service in communities like Brookings."

"I have been working to maintain the Essential Air Service for years and thank John for his hard work on this effort. Dependable air transportation is important for economic development, as well as connecting people with friends and family," said Senator Johnson.

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, these small communities might have otherwise seen the airlines pull up stakes and only focus on larger, more profitable markets.