Trends in essential air service structure and performance
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Essential Air Service (EAS) is federal program in the United States established to subsidize air service to communities and regions in danger of losing commercial service after deregulation in 1978. More specifically, an important facet of this program mandates that EAS communities have direct air service to an FAA designated medium or large hub, when feasible. Given the recent scrutiny of this program, particularly regarding costs of service versus demand served, it is important to evaluate how the EAS program is currently structured and whether any prospects exist for enhancing efficiencies or preserving program resources. To better understand trends in EAS program performance, we evaluate the efficiency of EAS service structure based on observed scheduled service over the period spanning 2001-2006. Observed service structure is then compared to optimal service under various planning objectives. Results highlight trends in system performance and indicate that significant potential for enhancing the efficiency of EAS service and provision of program resources exists.
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