So, there’s a program of government subsidies called the Essential Air Service Program that pays airlines to provide scheduled flights to small markets that might not otherwise have regularly scheduled airline service.
Delta flew 4,840 of the total 6,833 passengers who boarded flights at Pierre this year through June, and Delta’s planes left with 47.4 percent of the seats filled on average. If Delta leaves and no other airline comes in, most travelers from the South Dakota capital would have to drive to the closest bigger airport in Rapid City, 140 miles away. Time-constrained corporate and government travelers dislike that idea, Ms. Gill said.
Actually, if you wonder who the other 1900 odd passengers flew, it turns out that a small regional carrier also provides unsubsidized service to Pierre.
Do you think maybe if Delta isn’t willing to provide service to the market, Great Lakes Air might just increase their service to pick up some of the business?
That this article doesn’t realize that the government subsidy is crowding out smaller entrepreneurs is hardly surprising. The NYT (as well as the government) have shown a remarkably consistent inability to grasp even the basics of economics and capitalism.