- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

ALAMOSA, Colo. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Transportation is questioning why the Alamosa airport deserves a federal airline subsidy and wants the county to show why the rural area in southern Colorado needs help getting air service.

A federal program called Essential Air Service provides a subsidy to airports across the country it believes need air service because of their distance or isolation from airport hubs.

Several airlines are seeking permission to serve Alamosa, but the federal government says it isn’t worth the cost. Subsidies for each passenger cannot exceed $200 unless another qualifying airport is 210 miles or more away from a large or medium hub airport. The nearest large airport for Alamosa is Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is 199 miles away.

The current subsidy in Alamosa is $268 a ticket for each passenger.

The county hopes to prove that a decline in passengers is not because people do not want to fly, but because of undependable air service recently, According to the Alamosa Valley Courier (https://tinyurl.com/z55d4vn).

Alamosa County Administrator Gigi Dennis said Alamosa has until June 9 to answer the Department of Transportation’s questions and will work with air carriers on a proposal.

Dennis said she had a recent experience when she and three others were scheduled to fly out of Alamosa, but the flight was cancelled, so they had to drive to Denver. Dennis said it is always a possibility that Alamosa could lose the federal designation, but Alamosa can petition for a waiver.

The regional airport at Alamosa had about 6,120 passengers through the end of September 2015.

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Information from: Valley Courier, https://www.alamosanews.com/

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