OWLS HEAD, Maine — The new passenger air carrier serving Knox County residents took off from the regional airport runway for the first time Saturday bound for Boston’s Logan International Airport.
With that first flight, Hyannis Air Service Inc., doing business as Cape Air, became the county’s scheduled commercial air carrier.
The airline will fly a nine-seat Cessna 402 aircraft in and out of Owls Head daily throughout the year for the next two years.
Cape Air plans to operate three daily round trips, or 21 trips a week, October through May; four daily round trips, or 28 trips a week, for June and September; and five daily round trips, or 35 trips a week, for July and August, to Boston.
“We’re going to have an open house at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 12 at the former MBNA hangar,” Airport Manager Jeff Northgraves said Monday.
The Owls Head to Boston flight was one of two new routes launched by Cape Air in the Northeast on Saturday. The other route provides service between Boston and Lebanon, N.H.
Cape Air founder and CEO Dan Wolf said in a press release that the new daily service to Lebanon and Rockland would connect New Hampshire and Maine to the world through Logan.
Cape Air already serves four Massachusetts destinations — Hyannis, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket — from Boston, as well as Rutland, Vt., and two upstate New York communities, Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh, Wolf said.
Cape Air works closely with Continental Airlines in Florida and the Caribbean and with JetBlue Airways in New England. In addition, Cape Air has ticket and baggage agreements with most major airlines, Wolf said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation in August selected Cape Air to replace Colgan Air as the scheduled commercial air carrier providing low-fare flights between Boston and Knox County Regional Airport.
The Transportation Department had received proposals from two carriers for the new agreement: Cape Air and Colgan Air, doing business as U.S. Airways Express, the previous carrier on the route.
At Northgraves’ recommendation, the Knox County commissioners in June voted 3-0 to support Cape Air as the new carrier, after an 8-0 recommendation from the Airport Public Advisory Committee to endorse the Cape Air proposal.
The award provides an annual subsidy of $1.5 million to the carrier for a two-year period beginning Nov. 1.
Northgraves said that at the time of deregulation of the airline industry a few years ago, the Department of Transportation established the essential air services carrier contracts with subsidies, recognizing that some airports would never be profitable. The subsidies are designed to help small airports attract good-quality airlines.