Government Subsidized U.S. Flights to Keep Flying

Imagine sharing an entire commercial flight with less than ten other passengers. Apparently, it happens all the time in the U.S. While fares have been steadily increasing for the rest of the country’s air travelers, close to 3000 passengers everyday fly on heavily subsidized flights to nearby cities. USA Today reports that they are part of a program, begun in 1978, that guarantees rural communities a commercial air service.

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Fares are rock bottom. A round trip flight from Lewistown, Montana to Billings costs just $88, and it’s not uncommon to have flights with barely four passengers. As much as 93 percent of some of these flights is government subsidized.

The well intentioned program that started as part of the governments’ support scheme for rural America has steadily won its share of criticism. Many argue that such flights — which cost the government a cool $110 million every year – can be done away with because the hubs are close enough to be reached by road. For instance, at least 24 communities that enjoy these low cost services are reportedly within 90 miles from a decent sized airport that had at least a million passengers last year.

Even in the face of increased criticism, Congress has increased funding to the program, saying it provides access to these isolated communities, thereby aiding development.

Another example of your tax dollars hard at work!

  1. I do not think this is a waste of tax dollars at all. For example if you have ever flown over Iowa you would notice that not much is going on and farmers do no have ” A way to escape” if you will. Many routes are well over 90 miles and allow for farmers of America who are the countries life line a ticket to a larger airport.

  2. Firstly, let’s stop the nonsense that “the government pays for”… whatever. The government pays for nothing, it’s the taxpayers who pay!

    Secondly, why should the taxpayers fund the airline industry, an activity which allows every miscreant, and every disease and virus a free ride into USA. And then who has to pay to clean up the messes they create? The airline industry? Ya gotta be dreaming!

    Thirdly, it’s way past time for ticket prices start to reflect the true costs of air travel.

    The true costs of flying has already hit the general aviation sector with devastating results. You want to fly, you have to pay!

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