Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Millions Spent Subsidizing Commerical Flights in New Mexico. reporter Brian Faler revealed in this morning report that taxpayers spend up to $3600 subsidizing New Mexico Airline passengers who make short 150 mile flights between Albuquerque and Alamogordo.

Faler calculates that’s enough for a family of four to fly roundtrip from Albuquerque to Paris.

The US. Government spends millions keeping planes in the air on unprofitable routes.

The Bloomberg story says so far officials in Washington, looking to cut $100 million in government spending, by order of President Obama, in the next 90 days, have not targeted the Essential Air Service Program.

Lawmakers regularly defeat such proposals according to the Bloomberg story:

The Essential Air Service program’s popularity in Congress illustrates the difficulty Obama will face in trying to fulfill his pledge to search “line by line” for budget savings and trim a projected $1.85 trillion deficit: Almost every line in the budget is protected by guardian angels on Capitol Hill.

Obama’s fiscal 2010 spending outline, in fact, would add $55 million to air-service subsidies, an increase of more than 40 percent.

Aviation industry consultant Patrick Murphy told Bloomberg:

Let’s say you cut Alamogordo; you’ve immediately alienated two senators from New Mexico. In Washington terms, that’s probably not worth it.

Photo: MG Bralley
New Mexico Democrats Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall were among 22 senators who signed an April 9 letter warning White House budget director Peter Orszag against air-service cutbacks.

New Mexico Airlines, operated by Pacific Wings, has 12 weekly flights to Alamogordo. Some flights reportedly only have one passenger.

Click here to read the full report.

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