Alamogordo’s “essential air” boondoggle

Recently, I discussed the (unwarranted) optimism I had about Congressional Republicans’ efforts to eliminate the so-called “Essential Air Service” (EAS) program. Rob Nikolewski over at Capitol Report did some further analysis of flights into and out of Alamogordo, NM, a city that “benefits” from the EAS program.

Among his findings:

Only 374 people hopped aboard flights in Alamagordo in 2010. That’s an average of just 1.2 passengers per service day;

The US government sends some $1.6 millon in subsidies to airlines providing service to Alamogordo, so that works out to $3,126.57 per ticket (not counting the out of pocket price of between $70 to $90 each passenger pays for a one-way flight).

Almost makes the Rail Runner look like a good deal! If Congress can’t eliminate this narrowly-targeted and relatively small (within the scope of the federal budget) subsidy, how are they going to deal with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?