Proposals from airlines seeking to provide essential air service to Quincy will be made public in July
QUINCY — Gabriel Hanafin, interim airport director at Quincy Regional Airport, expects at least one airline to make a proposal to be the airport’s essential air service provider.
Proposals are expected to be opened by the U.S. Department of Transportation on July 1. Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said during Wednesday afternoon’s aeronautics committee meeting that he believes the Federal Aviation Administration will deliver those results to Quincy by July 6.
After agreeing to a four-year, $10.8 million contract in September to be the EAS provider for Quincy Regional Airport, Cape Air notified the U.S. Department of Transportation last month of its intent to end passenger air service in Quincy. However, it is required by federal statute to maintain air service to Quincy until a new carrier is selected.
Hanafin told the committee the request for proposal went out May 25 to replace Cape Air.
He also explained that Cape Air is providing twin-engine aircrafts as part of its EAS agreement. If the city receives a proposal that would call for an airline to provide single-engine planes, and the Department of Transportation recommends the proposal be accepted, Quincy officials can reject the offer.
“We retain veto power, because it’s our right to have a twin-engine aircraft,” Hanafin said. “If we accept the single-engine planes, then we waive the right to have twin-engine planes into perpetuity.”
Cape Air is continuing service as normal, maintaining 18 flights a week to both Lambert International in St. Louis (at a one-way cost of $47 a flight) and O’Hare in Chicago (at a one-way cost of $72 a flight). Hanafin said “there is no guarantee” that the same number of flights to both cities will be part of the new EAS proposals.
The committee set its next meeting date for July 13, during which they hope to review the proposals.
The airport enjoyed its highest number of passengers in May with 711 — 159 more than April and more than 250 higher than January, February or March. Removing factors such as the weather, Hanafin said 95 percent of the flights were completed in May. Troup said earlier this year that Cape Air canceled “some 40 percent of our flights” from Quincy in February and March, blaming a nationwide shortage of pilots.
For the first month this year, the number of passengers to Chicago (389) was higher in May than the number of flights to St. Louis (322). The number of flights to each city for the year is nearly equal — 50.57 percent of the passengers head to St. Louis, and 49.43 percent head to Chicago.
Hanafin said 93 percent of the 74 flights to Chicago in May landed at O’Hare Airport. Planes from Quincy can use Chicago Executive Airport if weather issues make it difficult to land at O’Hare.
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