(WASHINGTON D.C.)– U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today announced the five-year extension of the Essential Air Service program as part of the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Funded through the U.S Department of Transportation, the program provides critical air service that connects rural and remote areas to major hubs, helping to grow area businesses and support economic growth. Eight airports in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan will continue to receive Essential Air Service funding through 2023; Alpena County Regional Airport, Delta County Airport in Escanaba, Houghton County Memorial Airport, Ford Airport in Kingsford, Gogebic – Iron County Airport in Ironwood, Manistee County Blacker Airport, Pellston Regional Airport and the Chippewa County International Airport in Sault Ste. Marie. “Communities across Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula rely on dependable air service to support local businesses and jobs,” said Senator Stabenow. “The continuation of air service will not only ensure economic growth but will benefit our families living in small towns across the region.” Enacted in 1978, the Essential Air Service program has provided commercial service to communities that would otherwise go entirely unserved. The program ensures air carriers serve over 170 communities across the country. Senator Stabenow has been a champion of the program and has continued to advocate for increased funding for it.