SkyWest to operate EAS flights from Missouri to Chicago, Denver

Utah-based regional carrier SkyWest Airlines will launch daily flights from Joplin Regional Airport, Missouri (JLN) to both Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Denver (DEN) starting June 1.

The service will be operated with 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft under the United Express brand. The flights are made possible via the US Transportation Department's (DOT) Essential Air Service (EAS) program that subsidizes regional flying from smaller markets in the US.

The routes will enable JLN passengers to connect to United Airlines' national and international network via United's ORD and DEN hubs.

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JLN manager Steve Stockam noted the JLN-ORD route was previously operated by American Airlines for nine months in 2019. ORD "was a strong market for us," he said.

The DEN route is a completely new addition for the airport. "Adding the Denver hub to our service provides more connections to western destinations and will provide some new opportunities for area residents," Stockam said.

DOT will subsidize both routes for three years. In October 2020, DOT requested bids for EAS service at JLN after American cut 15 regional markets from its network, including JLN.

Photo credit: Joe Pries

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.