How Government Spends Taxpayer Money Wisely

I’ve blogged about the inanity of the Essential Air Service Program (eg here and here). Now Alex Tabarrok is on the case.

Per-passenger subsidies on flights (many of which average 3 passengers or less) are greater than the subsidies to Amtrak. In most cases, passengers just drive to larger airports for non-stop flights, but airline and airport lobbying keeps the waste alive.

Alex cites a USA Today piece noting a just-approved subsidy for Atlantic Southeast Airlines (a Delta regional affiliate and the single worst airline operating in the continental United States) to pay

60% of ASA’s cost to fly two round-trips a day between Macon, Ga., and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, 81 miles away. The airline projects that passengers will pay an average of $78 for a one-way ticket – and that flights, typically on planes with fewer than 70 seats, will run 83% empty.

I suppose it could be worse: the same funds could be put to use enhancing security theatre.

Update: Evan Sparks has much more (including graphs!).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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