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Cape Air has competition for federal subsidy to serve Knox County

By Stephen Betts | Jun 14, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Knox County Regional Airport terminal in Owls Head.

Owls Head — A second airline has applied to receive federal subsidies to serve the Knox County Regional Airport.

Boutique Air is offering to serve the airport in Owls Head using a Pilatus PC12 aircraft, which is a single-engine, nine-passenger plane.

Cape Air has been the recipient of the essential air service designation since it began serving Knox County in November 2008, succeeding Colgan Air. Cape Air currently uses Cessna 402 planes and will into 2019, and then will use a new Tecnam P2012 aircraft; like the Cessna, a two-engine, nine-passenger aircraft.

Cape Air had nearly 14,000 passengers in 2017, and Knox County Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves said he expected about the same number for 2018. The carrier flew fewer than 13,000 passenger in 2010.

The annual subsidy for Cape Air from the federal government from November 2017 through October 2018 will be $2.1 million. That translates to a per-passenger subsidy of $153, well below the $200 cap, Northgraves said.

The U.S Department of Transportation contracts with air carriers to provide service to smaller, rural communities.

The airport manager said he is very satisfied with Cape Air's service. Northgraves said he also told Boutique Air that he was "not yet sold on using a single-engine aircraft to provide the flights to and from Boston."

Boutique is tentatively scheduled to make a presentation to the Knox County Commission Tuesday, July 10, at 2 p.m.

Knox County owns and operates the airport.

Northgraves said he will make a recommendation, but wants to first see both presentations.

Cape Air is scheduled to make a presentation to the commission at 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 19.

Both presentations will be at the commission meeting room at the courthouse in Rockland. The county and the city of Rockland will make formal recommendations to the federal government on which carrier will be selected.

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Jeri Holm | Jun 15, 2018 10:08

I'd love to see a NYC flight


Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jun 15, 2018 08:45

I will cover the presentations by both airlines and report on their proposed flight schedules.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jun 15, 2018 06:43

I use Cape Air.  Sometimes, though, it is extremely hard to find a connecting flight for Cape Air at night.  Otherwise, I prefer to fly out of Owls Head rather than Portland or Bangor.  That being said, I am wondering what the schedule is planned for Boutique Air.

Posted by: Thomas J A Campbell | Jun 15, 2018 06:17

The Pilates aircraft is gas turbine engined and is pressurised allowing it to fly above 10,000 feet. This will cut the journey time to Boston by about 20 minutes if that’s important to people. In some configurations there’s also a toilet onboard. There’s a greater luggage and light freight capacity compared to the Cessnas’ used by CapeAir. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a dedicated Cape Air fan but any competition on a particular route tends to stimulate business at rural airports and that can only be good for Owlshead Rockport Airport.

Posted by: Linda Falkenmeyer | Jun 14, 2018 16:30

Cape Aid is reliable and the service wonderful.. love flying to Boston to catch other flights to major single engine aircraft....

Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Jun 14, 2018 13:33

Cape Air is so reliable and the service is great from all the employees here and in Boston and Rutland. Please, no

single engine aircraft.

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