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Specter, Casey, Pitts Announce Congressional Approval of Essential Air Service Extension

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Legislation Restores Lancaster's Eligibility for Commercial Air Service

U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey and Representative Joe Pitts today announced that the U.S. Congress has passed legislation which restores Lancaster Airport's eligibility for commercial air service under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program until Fiscal Year 2008. The language is included in the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2008 which extends aviation programs and taxes.

The legislation restores Essential Air Service eligibility to Lancaster Airport which lost the critical EAS subsidy when the provision expired September 30, 2007. EAS is program that subsidizes air service to small and isolated communities.

"Eligibility for commercial air service under this program is important to economic development and job creation in the region." Senator Specter said. "I am very pleased that our efforts have been successful in restoring this eligibility to the Lancaster community."

"I'm pleased Congress recognized the need for continued air service to the Lancaster Airport," said Senator Casey. "The airport plays a key role in basic travel, economic development and tourism. Passing this bill will ensure that the Lancaster Airport will have the opportunity to attract industry and help the region's economy."

"The passage of this legislation is a win for the people of Lancaster," Congressman Pitts said. "I am pleased to see Lancaster Airport will continue to remain a viable place for commercial airlines to operate, to the great benefit of the people of Lancaster."

"We are grateful to Senator Specter for introducing the original bill in 2004 and for his unwavering support to seeing it extended," said Joyce Opp of the Lancaster Airport. "Congressman Pitts and Senator Casey also supported this effort and the entire Lancaster County community will benefit from their efforts."

In 2002, Lancaster Airport was deemed ineligible for commercial air service under EAS because the Department of Transportation (DOT) determined the airport was located less than 70 miles away from the nearest large hub airport (Philadelphia). In 2004, Senator Specter successfully introduced an amendment that required DOT to consider the most commonly used route between Lancaster and Philadelphia, which exceeds the requisite 70 miles.

This year, Senators Specter and Casey were original cosponsors of the legislation to extend the eligibility to the Lancaster community through Fiscal Year 2008.

The bill will now be sent to President for his signature before becoming law.

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