Today Congress passed a one-week stopgap-spending bill that funds the government at current levels. Next week Congress is widely expected to pass an omnibus-spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 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 DHS and DOD. 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 Mark Kimberling, President of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO). “As Congress continues deliberations on the FAA reauthorization and the spending bill, NASAO will continue our 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.”