WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after a final meeting with representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration, Zak Winnick, Director of Fleet and Route Development, announced MetroAir Virtual Airlines will be begin participating in the Federally-subsidized Essential Air Service program.
Originally started after airline deregulation in 1978, the Essential Air Service is a US government program that was enacted to guarantee that small communities in the US were served by certificated airlines with at least a minimal level of scheduled air service.
Starting today, utilizing seven Bombardier Q200s, MetroAir will service the following cities:
Baltimore, MD (KBWI)
- KSHD – Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (Staunton, VA)
- KART – Watertown International Airport (Watertown, NY)
Nashville, TN (KBNA)
- KAHN – Athens Ben Epps Airport (Athens, GA)
- KMKL – McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (Jackson, TN)
- KMSL – Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (Muscle Shoals, AL)
Kansas City, MO (KMCI)
- KDVL – Devils Lake Regional Airport (Devils Lake, ND)
Ontario, CA (KONT)
- KMCE – Merced Regional Airport (Merced, CA)
- KVIS – Visalia Municipal Airport (Visalia, CA)
Phoenix, AZ (KPHX)
- KCNM – Cavern City Air Terminal (Carlsbad, NM)
- KCNY – Canyonlands Field (Moab, UT)
“I began meeting with the FAA a few months ago to negotiate receiving a few of the EAS subsidies.” stated Winnick. “We started service to Garden City, Kansas as a test to see how effective MetroAir could be on those routes. Needless to say, we did pretty well.”
The Q200 is one of two aircraft new MetroAir pilots are eligible to fly upon being hired to the airline.
“These routes should be perfect for our new pilots looking to get some hours under their belt.” Winnick went on to say. “The Q2, as we call it, is a great little aircraft, and these are some fun airports to fly to!”
Most of the flights announced today are under 90 minutes.
The ten new destinations will join Garden City in providing over $44 million in total subsidized revenue for MetroAir over the next two years.
At the end of the press conference, Winnick also officially announced that service to Fort Smith, AR (KFSW) and Stockton, CA (KSCK) would be ended effective immediately in order to free up aircraft for the EAS service.