Murkowski Working with Dept. of Transportation to Get Diomede Deliveries
Senator Reaches out to Federal Agency for Relief in Securing Helicopter Flights
Senator Lisa Murkowski reached out today to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, calling his attention to the critical situation faced by the island community of Little Diomede. Mechanical and weather conditions have made the regular supply helicopters and other aircraft unable to deliver goods like food or prescription drugs – requiring Murkowski’s efforts to get even a special flight there on February 13th.
Photo Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard
In a letter (attached) to Secretary Foxx, Murkowski writes:
The village is served under the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program because of its island isolation in the Bering Strait, and is the only community served by helicopter in the program. The contract for service provides 44 round trip flights during a twelve month period with the expectation that an ice runway is available for a portion of the winter months, allowing for fixed wing service during the remaining weeks of the year.
Unfortunately, this winter, we have two concerning situations – service has been interrupted due to aircraft down time and there is no ice runway for landing fixed wing aircraft due to current weather conditions. I am concerned that this added natural event will impact service to the community.
I respectfully request that you provide additional funds to the EAS contract for Little Diomede and Wales so there is no further disruption to air service this year. I stand ready to work with you, the State of Alaska and service providers to ensure safe air transport continuity.
Senator Murkowski looks forward to working with the Department of Transportation in the days ahead to get the Alaskans on this island the goods and services they need.