Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2017
McLEAN, VA. – Congress passed a one-week stopgap-spending bill, April 28, 2017, that funds the government at current levels. At press time, Congress was expected to pass an omnibus-spending bill in May that would fund the government through September 30.
In conjunction with the Trump Administration’s recently released “Budget Blueprint” for FY 2018, it was also recommended that Congress enact non-defense discretionary reductions of $18 billion in FY 2017 in order to offset proposed appropriations increases for the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense. The President’s blueprint proposed eliminating the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which protects more than 170 small communities from losing commercial air service. EAS funding is derived from a combination of revenue from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and overflight fees collected by the FAA.
“It is imperative, in our view, that Congress maintains full funding for the Essential Air Service program to keep numerous small and rural communities connected to the global marketplace and preserve this lifeline of services, goods, and economic activity,” said National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) President Mark Kimberling. “As Congress continues deliberations on the FAA reauthorization and the spending bill, NASAO will continue its work in supporting and improving small community access to air service – to include the sustainment of both EAS and the Small Community Air Service Development Program as cornerstones of these efforts.”