Durbin: DOT Approves Cape Air as Essential Air Service Carrier for Next Four Years

Success of airline could lead to more good paying jobs in Western Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Cape Air’s application to provide long-term service at Quincy Regional Airport for the next four years was accepted by the Department of Transportation.  This move will likely lead to the airline moving maintenance and other associated work to the region which could add good paying jobs to Western Illinois.  Cape Air will also continue providing service from to Marion, Illinois to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

“Cape Air has been a reliable, safe and affordable air service provider in Quincy, Marion and the Cape Girardeau region,” said Durbin.  “This four year contract is welcome news to these downstate communities and will provide the stability and quality of service that travelers have come to expect.  I particularly want to thank Mayor John Spring who has been instrumental in bringing this service Quincy where they have seen a significant increase in traffic – one that is expected to grow to over 20,000 passengers in the next year.”

In downtown Quincy, Cape Air plans to expand its operation by opening a new ticket office to increase the visibility of the airport and the airline.  Moreover, a long-term contract for Cape Air would likely lead to the airline moving maintenance and other associated work to Quincy Regional Airport – a prospect that could add good paying jobs to Western Illinois. Earlier this year, the City of Quincy Aeronautics Committee voted unanimously to support Cape Air’s proposal.  The Mayor of Quincy, John Spring, relayed that support in a letter to the Department of Transportation. 

Today’s contract covers the period from December 1, 2011, through November 30, 2015.  Under the contract Marion and Quincy will receive 36 weekly nonstop roundtrips to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport using eight- or nine-passenger Cessna 402 aircraft.  On February 15, Durbin sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, expressing his support for Cape Air’s application.

On October 22, 2009 Durbin and Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) announced that Cape Air was awarded the Essential Air Service (EAS) contracts in Quincy and Marion/Herrin.  Under the contract, Cape Air is required to provide thirty-six trips per week to St. Louis for two years.  This announcement followed a request from both members that the DOT initiate a process of finding a new carrier for service.  The DOT previously held a contract with Great Lakes Aviation which failed to negotiate a critical codeshare agreement with American Airlines – a key component of the communities’ support for Great Lakes Aviation’s application to become the EAS provider in those areas.