If you enjoyed flying from Presque Isle to Boston in the past, you'll have to make other arrangements now as the USDOT has announced a change in air service beginning this summer.

According to a press release submitted by the City of Presque Isle, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that it has selected United Airlines to be the new carrier for Northern Maine Regional Airport, with daily service to its Newark/New York hub.

The decision was decided late in the day on March 20.

United will lower the subsidy needed to provide service to Presque Isle and was widely supported by the community’s elected officials.

United will also provide the first-ever regional jet service to Presque Isle, as all flights will be operated by 50-seat jet-powered aircraft.

Scott Wardwell-Airport Director stated,

“With the combination of jet service, schedule and a large number of non-stop destinations out of Newark, this is the largest air service development in a generation. This will be the first time since Delta Airlines in 1978 that the airport has had jet service.”

As the expiration of the current contract approaches on June 30, 2018, the USDOT issued a request for proposals for the new term and received five proposals for service:  Boutique Air, PenAir, SkyValue, SkyWest, and United.

Each airline’s complete proposal and the community comments may be accessed online at www.regulations.gov. 

While USDOT acknowledges and appreciates the reliable service PenAir has provided to Presque Isle over these last six years, and after carefully reviewing each airline’s proposal, weighing the views of the elected officials of the community and considering the views of citizens, USDOT has decided to select United to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) to Presque Isle, Maine for the two-year term from July 1, 2018, through January 31, 2020.

United will provide 12 nonstop round trips per week to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) using a 50-seat jet aircraft for an annual subsidy of $4,780,955.  These flights include early morning and mid-day departures.

Arrivals will include mid-day and late evening flights providing passengers with greater flexibility in making connections.

USDOT considered five factors in making this decision:

  •  service reliability;
  •  contractual and marketing arrangements with a larger carrier hub;
  •  interline agreements with a larger carrier at the hub;
  •  community views, giving substantial weight to the views of the elected officials representing the users;
  •  whether the carrier has included a plan in its proposal to market its services to the community.

United’s proposal received support from Presque Isle’s elected officials.  It also has a solid reputation for providing reliable EAS.

United is the world’s third-largest airline, and its service will provide Presque Isle passengers access to its extensive domestic and international route network - Boutique Air, PenAir, SkyValue, SkyWest, and United.

United’s proposal received support from Presque Isle’s elected officials. It also has a solid reputation for providing reliable EAS. 

United is the worlds third largest airline, and its service will provide Presque Isle passengers access to its extensive domestic and international route network.

In addition, United’s service to Newark, a large-hub airport and the third largest hub for United, will provide customers with seamless connections to the national air transportation system as well as numerous international destinations.

In total, Newark offers Presque Isle passenger with over 155 non-stop destinations on United along including 9 daily non-stop flights to Orlando.

Lastly, USDOT points out that United’s requested annual subsidy was the least expensive of all six of the airline proposals submitted at Presque Isle.

The release added that United’s annual subsidy is $420,769 LESS than PenAir’s current subsidy of $5,201,724. 

USDOT appreciates the large number of letters it received from citizens in the Presque Isle area.

While they note that each letter was received and considered, USDOT must rely most heavily on the views of elected officials as required by 49 U.S.C. § 4173( c)(1)(D).

The primary objective of the EAS program is to provide a safety-net level of air service to connect communities to the larger, national air transportation system through a large or medium hub airport.

USDOT states, “It is confident that United’s Presque Isle service to EWT will fully meet the community’s EAS.”