EL CENTRO – Today, the County of Imperial was notified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that they have decided to grant the petition for a waiver from the 10-enplanement requirement and Subsidy Cap for the Imperial County Airport. The Imperial County Airport will retain its eligibility as an Essential Air Service (EAS) community.
“This is wonderful news for all of Imperial County!” stated District 3 Supervisor Michael W. Kelley. “To be able to continue operations and provide important and convenient access to the national air transportation system is significant for our community. I’m happy to see that the Department of Transportation agreed with our petition.”
The DOT issued an order on August 29, 2016 with a tentative determination to terminate Imperial County’s EAS eligibility due to not meeting the 10-enplanment requirement and exceeding the $200 per passenger Subsidy Cap for Fiscal Year 2015. In the order the DOT provided the County with 30 days to submit a petition for a waiver of the requirement. The County submitted a petition for a waiver along with 21 letters of support from local municipalities and public and private agencies. The waiver granted by DOT applies to Fiscal Year 2015 and Fiscal Year 2016 data based on October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 will be assessed at a later date.
“I want to thank our Executive Officer, Ralph Cordova, Jr. for taking on this large task of petitioning for our county to continue to participate in the EAS program,” said Chairman Jack Terrazas, District 2 Supervisor. “The success of the petition is due to his leadership and the aid of our partners who provided technical assistance, data, and letters of support. I am grateful for the Southern California Association of Governments, the City of El Centro, the City of Imperial, and Mokulele Airlines for their help with putting the petition together and all of the support we received from the cities in Imperial County, our federal and state legislators, and many others.”
The EAS program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. DOT’s mandate is to provide the EAS communities with access to the national air transportation system.
For more information on the Order issued by DOT regarding the waiver, you can access the docket, Order 2016-11-8, at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOT-OST-2008-0299-0104.