Air Service Challenges Faced by Small Communities

Small Communities Have Been the Victims of Broken Promises

First, deregulation promised air service to the nation’s smallest markets at affordable prices.

Then consolidating carriers claimed that larger networks would lead to more connectivity for smaller communities.

Both of these promises have been broken: small communities have seen increases in faresdeclining and unreliable service options, and a reduction in connectivity.


The airport community faces four unaddressed issues:

  1. An inadequate pilot supply threatens the smallest markets first.
  2. A trend towards larger aircraft leaves some communities with smaller markets unable to provide enough traffic to support larger jet service.
  3. Airline consolidation has resulted in fewer departures for smaller communities and reduced access to the air transportation network.
  4. Airports are regulated, and restricted, as to how they can use their revenue to enhance their services. In a market-based system, airports’ hands are tied.

RASA² wants to change the way we think about small community air service. As Congress examines ways to support small community air service and economic development, we urge a comprehensive review of current policies in place and its effect on this segment of the economy. RASA² and its members stand ready to participate in this discussion.