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Assessing geographic coverage of the essential air service program


  • Grubesic, Tony H.
  • Matisziw, Timothy C.
  • Murray, Alan T.


Essential air service (EAS) is a federally funded program that helps provide commercial air transport service from smaller, geographically remote communities in the United States. While critics of this program frequently cite the underutilization of EAS connections as being an indicator of wasteful public spending, recent studies suggest that the spatial configuration of EAS subsidized airports may also contribute to systemic inefficiencies. The purpose of this paper is to explore the prospects for reducing EAS allocations while meeting existing geographic service needs. The analysis of this public sector service is structured using classic location coverage problems to examine whether there are any system inefficiencies. This enables an objective assessment to be carried out, using spatial optimization modeling approaches. The subsequent analysis provides the basis for a number of public policy insights, including the evaluation of service redundancies, the impact of geographic proximity guidelines and the potential for expanding coverage of the EAS program.

Suggested Citation

  • Grubesic, Tony H. & Matisziw, Timothy C. & Murray, Alan T., 2012. "Assessing geographic coverage of the essential air service program," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 124-135.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:46:y:2012:i:2:p:124-135
    DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2011.12.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Grubesic, Tony H. & Murray, Alan T. & Matisziw, Timothy C., 2013. "A strategic approach for improving rural air transport in the United States," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 117-124.
    2. repec:eee:touman:v:65:y:2018:i:c:p:237-244 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wei, Fangwu & Grubesic, Tony H., 2016. "The pain persists: Exploring the spatiotemporal trends in air fares and itinerary pricing in the United States, 2002–2013," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 107-121.
    4. Grubesic, Tony H. & Wei, Fangwu, 2012. "Evaluating the efficiency of the Essential Air Service program in the United States," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1562-1573.
    5. Wittman, Michael D., 2014. "Public funding of airport incentives in the United States: The efficacy of the Small Community Air Service Development Grant program," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 220-228.
    6. Calzada, Joan & Fageda, Xavier, 2014. "Competition and public service obligations in European aviation markets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 104-116.
    7. repec:eee:transa:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:116-129 is not listed on IDEAS


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