Recent Press Releases

Senate Passes Thune Provision to Restore Brookings Air Service

Measure will now be sent to President for Signature

February 14, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Last night the U.S. Senate agreed to a bill (H.R. 5270) to temporarily extend the authorization and funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through June 30th, 2008. The bill includes bipartisan language Senator John Thune has advocated which would restore commercial air service to Brookings, South Dakota and two other airports through September 30th, 2008.

"I urge President Bush to sign this temporary extension as soon as possible," said Thune. "Providing more time for Congress to pass the FAA reauthorization bill is the smart thing to do. I am particularly pleased that the latest FAA extension includes language concerning the Essential Air Service program which helps communities like Brookings by offering consumers access to regularly scheduled commercial air service."

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which Senator Thune serves on, approved a comprehensive FAA Reauthorization bill last year to improve and modernize our nation's aviation system, including Senator Thune's legislation to maintain Essential Air Service (EAS) service in Brookings through 2012. However, the Senate has yet to schedule debate on this bill.

Due to the delay in passing the FAA Reauthorization bill, Great Lakes Aviation was forced to discontinue its air service to Brookings on October 1st, 2007. Although Senator Thune's bipartisan legislation (S. 2260) to restore air service to Brookings has passed the Senate twice, there have been delays in passing the measure in the House of Representatives. Fortunately, Senator Thune's bipartisan provision was included as part of the FAA extension which means that commercial air service will be restored for not only Brookings, but Aberdeen as well. Aberdeen lost its regularly scheduled air service to Denver, Colorado in November when Great Lakes Aviation was forced to discontinue service because Brookings lost its EAS eligibility.

The House passed H.R. 5270 by voice vote on February 12th and the measure will now be sent to the President for his consideration.