‘It’s a really great relationship for both where the county and Cape Air are headed’

Cape Air to continue providing Boston – Knox County Airport flights following federal approval

Sun, 10/02/2022 - 11:30am

Story Location:
Knox County Airport
23 Terminal Lane
Owls Head, ME 04854
United States

    ROCKLAND – The U.S. Department of Transportation, in a letter from Joel Szabat, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, notified Knox County Regional Airport and its manager Jeremy Shaw September 30 that it had selected Hyannis Air Service, Inc. d/b/a Cape Air (Cape Air) to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at Augusta and Rockland for a four-year term from November 1, 2022, through October 31, 2026. 

    Cape Air will continue to provide seasonally-adjusted flights for both communities to Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS) using its 9-passenger Tecnam P2012 Traveller (Tecnam) aircraft. 

    Cape Air is currently using its 9-passenger Cessna 402 aircraft and may use either until the start of the new contract period.  

    In addition, Cape Air will receive an annual subsidy to provide said service.  

    On May 20, the DOT requested proposals from air carriers interested in providing EAS for new contract terms for Rockland and Augusta. In response to that request, Boutique Air, Inc. (Boutique Air); Cape Air, and Southern Airways Express, LLC (Southern) submitted proposals. 

    On June 27, 2022, the Department requested comments from the communities of Augusta and Rockland regarding the EAS carrier-selection. In response, the Department received letters from the city of Augusta, the city of Rockland, the Knox County Commission, the Knox County Regional Airport, and the town of Owls Head, all supporting Cape Air’s proposal for a four-year contract term. 

    The DOT considers five factors when evaluating a carrier for EAS to a region.

    1. Service reliability of the applicant air carrier. 

    2. The existence of contractual and marketing arrangements with a larger air carrier at the hub.  

    3. The existence of interline arrangements with a larger air carrier at the hub. 

    4. The preferences of the actual and potential users of the EAS, giving substantial weight to the views of the elected officials representing those users.

    5. And whether the air carrier has included a plan in its proposal to market its EAS to the community. 

    Cape Air met these requirements. The DOT further stated in its letter that the proposals of Boutique Air and Southern to provide service using single-engine aircraft do not meet the basic service requirement and, since the communities did not request a waiver of this requirement, the department was unable to select either proposal. 

    “With the award, Knox County continues a great relationship with a company who is focused on constantly improving the passenger experience and is investing in green technologies that are better for our environment,” said Shaw.

    Shaw said in a telephone interview that both Knox County and Cape Air share a vision of a greener future in aviation.  

    “The Knox County Airport is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.into green technology, solar, and electric aircraft charging stations.” 

    Shaw stated that Cape Air is actively pursuing those types of technology. 

    “It’s a really great relationship for both where the county and Cape Air are headed,” he said.  

    Shaw said there was a complicating factor with Cape Air’s proposal in that they exceeded the $200 per passenger cap the DOT was requiring for a subsidy.  

    “Because of inflation around the country with aviation in everything from parts and fuel,” he said, “the U.S. DOT is seeing that type of increase across the board for what those costs actually are.”  

    Shaw pointed out that Cape Air was the only carrier to submit a proposal for a multi-engine aircraft. To select Boutique or Southern the county would have to waive its multi-engine requirement and was reluctant to do so.