PenAir was served federal notice Wednesday that it must remain in Crescent City and provide at least two round-trips a day or 12 to 14 round-trips in a six-day week.
The order from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) notes PenAir is bound by its Essential Air Service (EAS) federal subsidy contract to continue air service until airport officials in Crescent City find a substitute airline. It could take several months to do so, airport officials said.
PenAir disclosed Monday that it has filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy. The airline also announced it was stopping service to all non-EAS subsidized airports.
Airport Director Matthew Leitner said earlier this week that PenAir has agreed to continue flights to and from Crescent City.
PenAir was selected to continue service from Crescent City in June. The airline was then awarded the federal EAS subsidy — slightly more than $3.2 million for the first year and almost $3.4 million in the second.
Leitner said DOT is seeking proposals from all airlines, including San Francisco-based Boutique. PenAir was chosen over Boutique in the June selection.
Leitner said the airport has hired a consultant and he expects to hear from interested airlines sometime next week.
Passengers with tickets or questions should call PenAir directly at 800-448-4226.
In its directive, called a hold-in notice, to PenAir, the DOT noted: “Basic EAS requirements guarantee a minimum of two round trips a day, six days a week, to a large- or medium-hub airport.
“PenAir’s proposed termination of service would cause Crescent City, Kearney, North Platte, Dodge City, and Liberal to be left with no scheduled air service, and therefore, the Department is prohibiting PenAir from terminating such service at the end of its 90-day notice period, i.e., November 5, 2017.
“The Department reminds PenAir that it is required by law to provide 12 to 14 round-trips per week.
“Failure to comply with these minimum service requirements may result in referral of the matter to the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.”
DOT enforcement, should PenAir fail to comply, includes substantial fines, according to a DOT spokesperson.
PenAir did not return telephone calls seeking comment.