Chadron Asks DOT To Keep Southern Airways As EAS Provider In Chadron

    The Chadron City Council has formally asked the U-S Dept of Transportation to grant Southern Airways Express a new 2-year contract for Essential Air Service subsidies on the Chadron-Denver route.

    Interim City Manager Tom Menke says the resolution may not have been needed since Southern was the only carrier to bid on the route, a situation that DOT officials told him isn’t that unusual right now.

Southern submitted two options, both for 12 round trips a week and 6,750 passengers a year on planes holding 9 passengers.. 

    Option A, using the current unpressurized Cessna Caravan, was for $3.1-million dollars or $2,528 per passenger while Option B offered the pressurized Beechcraft KingAir or Pilatus PC12 for $3.6-million or $2,894 per passenger.

      Menke says the city would like the pressurized planes, which Southern had hoped to begin using on the route a year ago, but didn’t pick either one to leave more flexibility for the airline and the DOT to negotiate – if needed.

Although a number of passengers have complained about rough flights since the Caravan can’t get above thunderstorms and turbulence, Menke says the general consensus is that fliers are happy with Southern.

Menke says another reason Southern Airways is well received in Chadron is that it has yet to cancel a flight for operational reasons such as a lack of a pilot or a plane.

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