Daines Demands Answers from Biden Administration after 19 Months of Radio Silence on SkyWest Charter’s Commuter Application

Calls for Review of SkyWest’s Commuter Authority Request Amidst Ongoing Pilot Shortages

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Carol Petsonk today demanding answers from the Biden administration on its failure to review SkyWest Charter’s (SWC) application for Commuter Air Carrier Authorization. Montana communities, especially Butte and West Yellowstone, rely on small community air service to connect them with the rest of the state and nation. SWC’s application has sat unresolved at the agency for 19 months.

“I write today regarding my ongoing concerns with the impact declining access to small community air service is having on Montana and to seek immediate action on SkyWest Charter’s application for a Commuter Air Carrier Authorization. Communities across the state rely on this vital service and face severe economic hardship if action is not taken immediately to provide relief,” Daines wrote.

“As you know, SkyWest is seeking commuter authority in an effort to combat the ongoing pilot shortage while continuing to provide and expand air service to small communities across the country. Although SkyWest’s application was submitted to your agency more than a year-and-a-half ago, no action has been taken on your part since. This is despite my June 2023 letter to you on this subject and other outreach from various Montana community groups that are directly impacted by your lack of action on this matter. Air service is not a luxury for many rural Montanans, but rather a necessity. Without reliable air service, they often cannot access critical medical services and many communities rely upon the economic lifeline it provides. Communities like Butte and West Yellowstone stand to bear the brunt of the negative consequences from continued inaction, including hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity lost,” Daines continued.

Read Daines’ full letter to Secretary of Transportation (DOT) Pete Buttigieg and Assistant Secretary Carol Petsonk HERE.

Last summer, Daines asked for the DOT to quickly review the request and ensure continued service.