A Cape Air plane. Cape Air remains the year-round carrier at the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport while bids are still being accepted for a seasonal carrier. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Carrier bids due for seasonal air service

ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport is slated to receive its second round of bids today, Thursday, April 5, for seasonal air service.

“We’re in the process of selecting a new carrier to start July 1,” said Airport Manager Brad Madeira.

The two-year contract for current seasonal operator Pen Air expires June 30.

Madeira has airport and county officials scheduled to have a bid recommendation finalized by Friday, April 13. Their recommendation will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The federal DOT will make a decision based on what the Hancock County community recommends.

Madeira said that usually takes two weeks, which would mean whichever carrier is chosen should be notified by May 1. Usually a new carrier can be ready for service in 60 days. That would put a new carrier online for the season on July 1.

Pen Air officials have advised Madeira they will try to continue seasonal service until the end of the company’s contract June 30.

Pen Air, which filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, was not the favored seasonal air carrier of the Airport Advisory Committee. The committee voted at a Jan. 24 meeting to recommend Silver Airways.

However, a second round of bids had to be solicited.

Silver Airways was unable to provide service to Bar Harbor unless the carrier also was awarded the bids for service in Presque Isle and Plattsburgh, N.Y. Both those airports have selected different seasonal carriers.

That doesn’t mean the airport is without a carrier. Cape Air operates year-round air service between Bar Harbor and Boston.

Madeira has scheduled a brisk timeline to get a seasonal carrier on board.

The Airport Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. to review bids and recommend a seasonal carrier to the Hancock County Commissioners.

The commissioners have scheduled a special meeting Friday, April 13, at 8:30 a.m. to review the committee’s selection. Madeira will then send a letter to the federal DOT with the selection.

Both meetings are open to the public.

“The public may also submit their own letters of support to the USDOT in support of whichever carrier they feel will best serve our community,” Madeira said.

They can email [email protected] or mail letters to Michael F. Martin, United States Department of Transportation Essential Air Service (EAS) and Small Community Air Service, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, D.C. 20590.


Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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