Senators fight to keep Essential Air Service flights in the air

Baucus, Tester Say Big Sky Is Critical To Montana

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today urged the parent company of Big Sky Airlines to keep planes flying until a new carrier is able to take over the flights.

Recent news reports stated that Essential Air Service flights would stop on March 8, 2008. Baucus and Tester said that these flights are critical to people all around Montana. The senators called on MAIR Holdings, the parent company of Big Sky Airlines, to keep planes flying until a new airline can take over the flights.

"We understand from MAIR Holdings' announcement of Fiscal 2008 Third Quarter results that MAIR possesses more than $30 million in cash in addition to other assets," wrote Baucus and Tester today.  "We urge you to consider that public statement in light of Montana's limited flight options, which will be decimated without Essential Air Services.   Montana is one of the largest states in the U.S., and our constituents frequently must travel long distances.   Only a reliable air travel network can enable them to do so affordably."

Both senators are very concerned about the devastating blow that ending these flights could have on Montanans. Baucus and Tester want to work with MAIR to keep Big Sky Airlines flying until an alternative can be found.

"As Montana's senators, we stand ready to work with you to protect Montanans' reliance on the Essential Air Services program until such time as another airline can perform the service," wrote Baucus and Tester."