Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  President Bush today signed 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 Senator John Thune's bipartisan provision to restore commercial air service to Brookings, South Dakota and two other airports through September 30th, 2008.

"I applaud the President for taking action and signing this extension into law," said Thune. "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. As Congress works to act on a long-term FAA Reauthorization bill, I will continue working to ensure that Brookings is eligible under the Essential Air Service program."

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. With the President's approval, the U.S. Department of Transportation will soon issue a request for proposal to solicit bids from airlines to provide regularly scheduled air service to Brookings. Earlier today, Senator Thune spoke with Mary Peters, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation at a Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing regarding the importance of rural air service.