County Reaches Out to Feds for Help Replacing Sea Port Airlines

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IMPERIAL – Soon after the cancellation of services by Imperial County’s Essential Air Service (EAS) provider SeaPort Airlines, Inc. (SeaPort) was issued late on January 15, 2016, the County of Imperial notified the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and is working with DOT to find a solution.  Earlier today, the DOT released an Emergency Request for Proposals (RFP) for replacement EAS in Imperial County, among other locations, with or without subsidy requests.

“I am highly encouraged by the release of the RFP and the attention provided this matter by the Department of Transportation and its EAS program administrators in Washington, D.C.,” said Supervisor Jack Terrazas, Chairman of the Board.  “Their actions clearly demonstrate that they understand our concerns.  They have been working with our CEO’s office since learning of SeaPort’s cancellation of services on Friday.”

The DOT generally issues RFPs 90-days prior to the expiration of the current contract to all scheduled carriers and institutes a carrier-selection proceeding, however due to the immediate cancellation of services, without notice, by SeaPort, there is an urgent need for a local carrier.  The RFP is for carriers interested in providing emergency replacement EAS at El Centro, California, Visalia, California, and/or Great Bend, Kansas.

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.

Due to the emergency nature of this situation, proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.  Proposals should be e-mailed directly to EAS@dot.gov.

For more information or those interested in submitting a proposal, you can access the RFP at www.Regulations.gov.