Durbin: Congress Approves Bill to Protect Essential Air Service for Illinois Communities

Marion, Quincy, Decatur will remain in the reformed EAS program

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced that late last night the U.S. Senate approved legislation that will ensure that Illinois communities including Marion, Quincy and Decatur will remain a part of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act – approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last week and will now go to the President for his signature – helps rural areas keep the commercial air service they have now and attract new service in the future.


“Without a robust EAS program, many rural communities would have no commercial air service at all, and residents of smaller cities would have to travel significant distances for flights,” said Durbin. “This bill will ensure that airports in Quincy, Marion and Decatur have scheduled commercial air service – an enormous tool to for communities to retain and attract businesses. Reliable air service is an important requirement for many businesses when they choose a headquarters or office.”


The legislation passed last night is the product of a joint House and Senate Conference Committee tasked with working out the differences between a House bill and a Senate bill both passed early last year. While the original House bill eliminated the EAS program, the Senate bill maintained the program with some cost saving reforms. The final bill fully funds essential air service and puts in place important reforms to ensure communities can retain quality air service to rural communities.