SkyWest Contract In Limbo At Cape Regional Airport After USDOT Bars Termination
In mid-February, Cape Girardeau Regional Airport announced there would be immediate changes to their daily flight schedules due to mass staffing shortages within the Airline industry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally, the airport adjusted their weekly flight schedule from 12 flights to 10, hoping within the next couple months pilot and staff recruitment would solve the issue.
On March 10, the airline explained that in addition to rising fuel prices across the United States due to the Russian Oil Ban, regional partner Skywest Airlines faced yet another challenge to maintain their business.
Because of the complications, the City of Cape Girardeau announced that Skywest had planned to terminate its service at CGI, leaving flight services to end within 90 days.
The change would potentially impact 29 regional airports across the US by the regional airline's decision, including those at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin Missouri, as well as Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah, Kentucky.
The City of Cape Girardeau reassured customers and community members that there would be no immediate changes to the current flight schedules, outside of those announced last month.
In reaction to this announcement, Cape planned to partner with a new airline service to return to their regular scheduling.
On Mon, March 14, not long after the announcement, The US Department of Transportation stepped in to bar SkyWest from terminating flights to and from its 29 regional locations.
Under the Essential Air Service program, the Department of Transportation guarantees smaller communities access to the national transportation grid to a minimal level of scheduled air service, which is generally accomplished by subsidizing two round trips a day with 30- to 50-seat aircraft, like that of the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.