OWLS HEAD — Three airlines have submitted proposals to Knox County to provide federally subsidized air transportation to Knox County Regional Airport over the next two to four years.
This includes the current long-time carrier – Cape Air.
Essential Air Service’s contract to provide air transportation to small rural communities has just been renewed for Knox County Regional Airport at Owls Head. The US Department of Transportation contracts with airlines and provides them with federal subsidies in exchange for serving these areas.
The renewal came four years ago when Cape Air was again selected.
The three airlines that have submitted proposals to receive federally subsidized essential air service designation are Cape Air, which says it will serve Knox County with a 9-seat Cessna 402 or a 9-seat Tecnam Traveler. ; Southern Airways Express, with a 9-seater Cessna Caravans; and Boutique Air, with a 9-seat Pilatus PC-12.
Boutique Air submitted a proposal in 2018 in an attempt to land the contract for Knox County.
Knox County Regional Airport invites written comments until July 22. Once these are received, Knox County commissioners will vote to recommend one of the carriers to the federal agency. A final selection by the federal government will be made later this year.
Comments can be sent to Knox County.
A review of the three proposals shows that Cape Air is requesting a grant of $3,380,000 for the first year, rising to $4.16 million in the fourth year.
The Boutique proposal would require a grant of $3,583,000 in year one and $3,726,000 in year two.
Southern would need a grant of $3,476,000 in year one, rising to $3,743,000 in year four.
The average passenger fare would be $111 under Cape Air, $49 for Boutique and $73 for Southern.
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