- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - A federal subsidy for airline service to and from Athens could end this year, leaving the airport without its regular daily passenger service to Nashville International Airport.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/PTlRHZ) that Athens-Ben Epps Airport was recently notified by federal officials that the Essential Air Service program will be reduced or cut entirely as soon as this fall. The program provides a $1.5 million annual subsidy to Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines’ operations in Athens.

The program was put in place following airline deregulation in 1978 to help small communities to maintain a minimal level of air service.

Airport Manager Tim Beggerly said the elimination of the EAS subsidy at Athens-Ben Epps would be based on SeaPort’s inability to meet the 10 passenger per day requirement of the program.

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Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, http://www.onlineathens.com