Silver Airlines’ Essential Air Service contract for five eastern Montana cities will expire on Sept. 27, but residents will not be grounded while the new carrier, Cape Air, gets organized.
“It’s not like the airline is going to up and leave on that specific date if there’s not another airline,” said Steve Bennett, a spokesman for Silver Airlines. “We are acting in good faith. We care about the community.”
Bennett contacted The Courier on Tuesday after being informed about a Courier article published July 31, which announced the choice of Cape Air as the new EAS provider and stated that Silver would leave Sept. 27.
Bennett said discussions with the U.S. Department of Transportation indicate that the changeover to Cape Air won’t happen until later in the year. Silver Airways will continue to provide service here so there is a smooth transition.
“We want to make sure your readers don’t think that come the end of September, they’ll be out of luck,” Bennett said.
Silver Airways will stop operations in Montana after two years of service in part because EAS flights to Lewistown and Miles City were cut off by new caps on passenger subsidies. The remaining cities are Glasgow, Wolf Point, Havre, Sidney and Glendive.
Cape Air is a New England-based regional airline that serves 37 cities throughout the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, the Caribbean and Micronesia. Fifteen of the cities are EAS contracts. Cape Air exclusively flies Cessna 402 twin-engine aircraft, a nine-passenger plane.