Airport Competition:

Essential Air Service Slots at O'Hare International Airport

RCED-94-118FS: Published: Mar 4, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the availability of air travel between small midwestern airports and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year 1993, the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program provided a total of $38.6 million to commercial air carriers agreeing to provide service to designated communities; (2) some midwestern communities believe that service to O'Hare International Airport is essential for attracting new industry and maintaining healthy local economies; (3) maintaining frequent and convenient service to O'Hare has become increasingly difficult because the limited number of takeoff and landing slots at O'Hare are controlled by a few large airlines; (4) the number of nonstop and direct flights available between small midwestern airports and O'Hare Airport has decreased since the start of the EAS program; and (5) O'Hare Airport could accommodate more traffic through more efficient slot allocation, but the Federal Aviation Administration and airport officials believe that the number of additional slots would be minimal.

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