Alamosa Seeks Support For San Luis Valley Airline Service

Receiving EAS designation means about a $1 million subsidy to the airline servicing the Alamosa airport.

ALAMOSA, Colo. -- Residents are being urged to write letters to Congress insisting that local airport service be supported.

Herry Andrews, San Luis Valley Regional Airport manager, last week called for a campaign urging the state's federal representatives to protect essential air service designation for the airport.

Andrews said a request for EAS bids went out this month and already two airlines, Great Lakes Aviation - which has the current contract - and Big Sky Airways have indicated they want to bid to supply air service to the area.

Receiving EAS designation means about a $1 million subsidy to the airline servicing the Alamosa airport. That subsidy may increase because of an increase in fuel costs, Andrews explained.

"Without an EAS designation, we're not sure we would have an airline in the San Luis Valley," Andrews said.

Alamosa, Cortez and Pueblo are the only three airports in Colorado with EAS designation, Andrews said.

Andrews told fellow Alamosa County commissioners he is concerned for Pueblo's designation.

"It's easier for us to retain essential air service designation because we are farther away (from a major airport) but Pueblo could be on the chopping block because it is only 45 miles from Colorado Springs. We met in Pueblo to see if we could help out. It is in both our interests for Pueblo to have the designation," Andrews said.

Great Lakes supplies three flights daily Monday through Friday, two a day on Saturday and Sunday.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

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