Essential Air Service: some links and articles (lots of data to ponder)

I have been wanting to do an in-depth analysis of EAS for a long time, but have been quite busy building airport-data pages and trying to get FAA to release records. I was reminded of this yesterday, when I ran into a pair of EAS articles by Steve Wilson at Watchdog.org. Both articles focus on the skyrocketing subsidies for airports in Mississippi for which ‘essential air service’ is, well, ‘non-essential’. In fact, many see EAS as just an example of crony capitalism and a pork-rich sandwich handed out to a few selected corporate entities. (Steve also has an article with some interesting examples of how bad Crony Capitalism is in Mississippi)

Some Food for Thought

My in-depth EAS analysis will happen, one of these days. In the meantime, here are a few links for readers who want to know more about EAS:

EAS (at Wikipedia)
20140617cpy.. Map showing counties with EAS subsidies (from wiki)Wiki is always a good place to start your research. Here is their ‘Essential Air Service’ page. It includes this map, as well as extensive tables showing EAS subsidy airports, dollar values, and histories.
Target 11 investigates essential air service
Empty seats, EAS out of KCLE (Target11 pic)An 11/6/2012 news story by Target11, looking at empty seats connecting Pennsylvania airports with the United/Continental hub at Cleveland [KCLE].
Federally subsidized air service strains meaning of ‘essential’
Steve Wilson’s 6/9/2014 article, includes a table showing EAS subsidy levels. Also, quotes General MacArthur and Robert Poole.
Airlines vie for federally subsidized routes in Mississippi
SeaPort ramp picSteve Wilson’s 6/6/2014 article, includes an assessment of the bids being made for EAS contracts serving these airports: Hattiesburg-Laurel [KPIB], Meridian [KMEI], Greenville [KGLH], Tupelo [KTUP], and Muscle Shoals [KMSL].
EASflights.com
This is a blog by Nate V. (aka ‘haleonate’ on Twitter). It contains excellent Posts, and draws from his years of hard work eventually managing a small airline. He shows the nitty-gritty of politics and logistics behind EAS awards and air service at mostly smaller airports. Be sure to read the ‘About Me’ page, too; an interesting guy, with lots to blog about, doing a great job sharing what he has learned about EAS.
Here is a quote from Nate’s very informative  ‘What is EAS?’ page.

“…What began as a band-aid to help smaller communities is now subsidizing air service to many markets that once were highly successful.  The Essential Air Service program is one that is highly useful in maintaining business & a way of life for many communities, however the program has been used & abused by the airlines, the communities, and the politicians.

I’m providing this site to help educate the public… unfortunately many airports and airlines don’t get to tell their end of the story, and the public doesn’t really find it “sexy” enough to warrant follow-up stories from their local media.   I think this program is a good one, however there are abuses that need to be fixed and airlines need to be motivated to try to make markets work, rather than allow EAS to become an airline-welfare program….”