The cities of Alliance and Chadron are once again going separate directions with their recommendations for Essential Air Service.
Earlier this month, Chadron officials picked Southern Airways as their choice, citing pilot shortage issues that led to flight cancellations by Boutique Air, while this week the Alliance city council voted in favor of continuing with Denver Air Connection.
Mayor Mike Dafney tells KNEB News the airline’s reliability, with only 4 weather-related cancellations and 32 late departures before the pandemic, was a key in their selection. “The carrier we had before would come out of Chadron, and a lot of times it could not get out of Chadron, and our people were left stranded here waiting for them to come get them,” said Dafney. “So, the big deal here is that Denver Air Connection has a plane that overnights here, they buy fuel from us, and the pilots use the motels here, so there’s a little economic boost there also.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to make decisions on the EAS contracts for both communities later this year.