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Subsidized Flights For Rural California Now Landing At Sac International

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento International Airport has added another dozen round-trip flights to its weekly Terminal B schedule. 

The airport's Laurie Slothower says the $78 round-trip flights on Sea Port Air connect Visalia to Sacramento. The flights are part of a federal program that subsidizes air travel from small municipal airports to larger hubs like Sacramento.

"They're using nine-seat Cessna Caravans -turbo props. They actually board the planes from the tarmac just like they do some of the Air Alaska flights to Seattle,"  says Slothower.

A report released in November shows the United States Department of Transportation subsidized more than $9 million last year for flights to and from four California cities -including flights from Crescent City, El Centro, Merced and Visalia. The Merced and Visalia flights connected travelers to Los Angeles.

Under the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Essential Air Services" program, subsidies are limited to $200 per seat per flight, unless the community is more than 210 miles from the nearest large-or-medium-hub airport.

Timothy Sieber with Sea Port Air says each nine-seat flight will receive a subsidy of $803.

Nationwide, the department paid $254 million in subsidies last year -including $15 million for flights to small communities in Alaska.

 

 0209 bm Sea Port Air