How tax dollars subsidize small airports, including four in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 1, 2018

How tax dollars subsidize small airports, including four in Arkansas

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 7:46 AM

click to enlarge SOUTH ARKANSAS AIRPORT: El Dorado terminal draws subsidies for 18 flights a week to Dallas.
  • SOUTH ARKANSAS AIRPORT: El Dorado terminal draws subsidies for 18 flights a week to Dallas.
Here's a report on the 40-year-old program of federal tax subsidies for small airports, some serving as few as a dozen passengers a day.

With airline consolidation and the growth of hub airports, traffic at the smallest airports has declined and raised anew questions about the subsidies.

For example, Arkansas. The statistics here show these figures for the number of passengers service and subsidy per passenger in Arkansas in 2016, cumulatively adding up to more than $1 million a year in each city:

El Dorado       6,643    $210.52
Harrison         4,192     $435.93
Hot Springs   4,296    $320.68
Jonesboro      8,761    $221.15

The chart information shows all these airports more than 200 miles from a "hub" airport. But they are closer to mid-sized to large airports. For example, Jonesboro is 79 miles from the Memphis airport, and Hot Springs is about 60 miles from the Little Rock airport.

Subsidies are higher in some places around the country, up to a whopping $778 in McCook, Neb.

The Trump budget proposal could reduce these subsidies.

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