WASHINGTON---U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) is pleased to announce that he has secured a two-year extension for federal funding of the Essential Air Service program for both Enid’s Woodring Regional Airport and Ponca City Airport. Due to Senator Inhofe’s efforts, both Enid Woodring Regional Airport and Ponca City Airport have federal funding for 17 Enid-Ponca City- Dallas/Ft. Worth flights plus seven Enid-Ponca City-Denver round trips a week.
“We have focused on this issue for the better part of two years now and I am pleased to announce the two-year extension of this vital program to both Enid and Ponca City,” Inhofe said. “Continued funding for this program means so much for Oklahoma as the Essential Air Service program plays a crucial role in these two communities.”
“Our friends in Enid and Ponca City need commercial jet service and I am pleased that now it will continue to be available to these communities.”
Senator Inhofe secured two prior extensions for the Essential Air Service to both Enid Woodring Regional Airport and Ponca City Airport. Senator Inhofe has maintained a persistent and aggressive dialog with the Department of Transportation through personal meetings, phone calls, and letters since the Department of Transportation’s original notice of intent to terminate.
The Airline Deregulation Act, passed in 1978, gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. The Essential Air Service (EAS) program was put into place at the same time to guarantee that small communities that were served by certified air carriers before deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. The EAS program currently ensures commercial air service to over 100 communities in more than 30 states.