Right out of Atlas Shrugged: Government pays millions for empty flights to rural airports
This is what happens when government says that it has a mission to maintain the economic viability of enterprises or communities that are not viable on their own. There is a $200 million federal program called Essential Air Service. Among its clients is Great Lakes Airline, which runs daily flights between Ely, Nevada, and Las Vegas. On some days, there are no passengers on the flights. But the federal government pays the airline anyway.
As the AP reports:
Federal statistics reviewed by The Associated Press show that in 2010, just 227 passengers flew out of Ely while the airline got $1.8 million in subsidies. The travelers paid $70 to $90 for a one-way ticket. The cost to taxpayers for each ticket: $4,107.
Note to newer readers: my approving mention of Atlas Shrugged does not imply approval of that novel as a whole or of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, which I completely oppose. But the novel, notwithstanding its fatal flaws, includes criticisms of collectivist egalitarianism which are enduringly valid.Robert B. writes:
If you go to Great Lakes Airline’s website and click on “about us” you can read its history. First you see that it was a Iowa based company—North Western Iowa, to be exact. There are no Great Lakes anywhere near there. But then one reads further and discovers that its phenomenal growth began when the government initiated its Essential Air Service program. The company went from being a tiny, very niche, company flying Beechcraft prop planes to becoming a regional airline. Thus the company was almost entirely built on the backs of taxpayers at an enormously high rate of subsidy.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 12, 2011 07:53 AM | Send