Trump Cuts May Eliminate Rural Flights
I actually had the pleasure of taking one of these flights back in November when the professional dance group I used to tour with was doing a show in Havre. Driving from here to Havre would have been a long drive and for only $98 I could get there in less than an hour! Plus, northern Montana is really pretty and it was fun to sight see. And not to mention that my flight home… I was the only person on board so it basically felt like a private jet!
I think it’s important to keep these flights at a low rate so that people and families in these areas can get to bigger cities, like Billings, for shopping, music concerts, sports, the arts and visiting family. We have to keep everyone connected but for $500… I don’t think so!
KCTR Newsroom – Some of the cost-cutting suggested in the Trump administration budget released on Thursday includes the elimination of federal subsidies for small airline flights from Billings to five rural communities in Eastern Montana. The cuts would target the 39-year-old Essential Air Service, which subsidizes Cape Air flights from Billings to Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Wolf Point and Sidney.
Without the federally-subsidized program, Cape Air would probably not be able to afford to continue operating the service, which peaked during the Bakken boom. The program has bipartisan support from Montana U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Senator Jon Tester.
In 2016, over 37,000 passengers boarded subsidized Cape Air flights in Montana, down 15 percent from the previous year, according to the Montana Department of Transportation. The cost of the flights is about $100 roundtrip, and would likely be more than $500 without the subsidy.