The U.S. Department of Transportation is ending its subsidies for flights from Billings to Miles City and Lewistown on July 15.
Subsidies for Silver Airways Inc. flights to Miles City and Lewistown far exceeded the maximum subsidy of $1,000 per passenger that Congress set last year for the Essential Air Service program. The Lewistown flights cost the government just over $2,000 per passenger, while subsidies for Miles City flights were $2,337 per passenger.
Silver has an EAS contract to fly from Billings to seven smaller Montana cities that cannot financially support regular commercial air service.
Silver's contract to fly 19-passenger planes to seven Montana cities expired on May 31, but the subsidies for Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney and Wolf Point will continue until another bid is awarded.