A request by PenAir to discontinue service to central and western Nebraska has the state Congressional delegation upset.
PenAir has filed a request with the Department of Transportation to end air service routes between Denver and Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff.
“Today’s news regarding PenAir is concerning for Nebraskans, especially those in our state’s rural areas and the Panhandle,” U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer said in a written statement released by the senator’s office. “Reliable air service connects our families, businesses, and communities to the rest of our country and the world. As Congress considers the FAA reauthorization this year, I will continue to shore up support for the Essential Air Service program. I will also work to reduce burdensome regulations that harm Nebraska’s small and community airports by reducing the number of available pilots and increasing service costs.”
Fischer is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Congressman Adrian Smith is also alarmed at the prospect of PenAir ending flight service to Nebraska.
“Commercial air service is necessary to connect rural communities with the national transportation network, and today’s announcement from PenAir on discontinuing its service in Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff is causing understandable concern among Nebraskans,” Smith said in a written statement released by his office. “I have long supported the Essential Air Service and fought against federal regulations threatening our small airports.
“Despite this discouraging news, I will keep working with the impacted airports to help ensure continued access to air service, which is a crucial tool for economic development in these communities.”
Smith serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Rural Caucus.
The Congressman has proposed changes to Federal Aviation Administration regulations which would help small airports qualify for the funding needed to maintain Essential Air Service.