American, United submit competing bids to offer air service to S - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

American, United submit competing bids to offer air service to Sioux Gateway Airport

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

American Airlines has some competition in its bid to provide air service to Sioux City's Sioux Gateway Airport.

Documents released by the Department of Transportation show American Airlines, and United Airlines, both submitted bid under the government's "Essential Air Service" program. The program is meant to subsidize air service making it more affordable for airlines to serve smaller airports.

American's bid asks for $611,334 from the federal government to continue offering 13 weekly, year-round flights from Sioux City to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. The planes would remain 50-seat, regional jet aircraft.

Two-years ago, American asked for, and received, $1.5-million to operate 13 weekly, year-round flights to Chicago. American says its request for less money this time means the market is, "in a trajectory to one day be self-sustaining."

United's bid asks for $1.4-million to operate 13 weekly, year-round flights. United is also offering service from Sioux City to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. United's planes would also be 50-seat, regional jets.

But, in its bid, United also suggested that if its service performs well, the airline could add service to a second hub, with as many as two daily flights. United used Denver as an example.

The Airport Board will make a recommendation to the City Council. And, the council can make it's own recommendation to the DOT. Ultimately, the choice is up to the DOT. American's current contract to serve Sioux Gateway ends April 30th, 2014. A DOT spokesman hopes to complete a new air service contract "as soon as possible."

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