Cape Air launches service from airport in Owls Head

Posted Nov. 12, 2008, at 9:18 p.m.

OWLS HEAD, Maine — Cape Air officially cut the ribbon Wednesday inaugurating the airline’s newest passenger route serving Boston’s Logan International Airport.

The new service actually began flying Nov. 1 between Boston and the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head.

The company’s Owls Head to Boston flight was one of two new routes launched by Cape Air in the Northeast. The other route provides service between Boston and Lebanon, N.H.

“We’re starting out with three flights a day,” Cape Air founder and CEO Dan Wolf told a gathering at the former MBNA hangar at Owls Head. “That will change seasonally up to five daily flights.”

Wolf was joined on the runway next to one of his company’s fleet of nine-passenger Cessna 402 aircraft by Rockland Interim City Manager Terry Pinto, Rockland City Councilor and legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe Deb McNeil, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Hastings, and legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins Bill Card.

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 Owls Head.

At the time of deregulation of the airline industry a few years ago, the U.S. 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.

The award provides an annual subsidy of $1.5 million to Cape Air for a two-year period beginning Nov. 1.

Until Sept. 26 this year, Cape Air had no fatal accidents in its history.

But a pilot was killed Oct. 26 in the crash of a small Cape Air plane on Martha’ s Vineyard.

Federal investigators have yet to pinpoint the cause of the fatal crash.

A recent preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says an initial examination of the wreckage of the Cessna 402 turned up no evidence of any catastrophic failure that might have caused the aircraft to go down.

The pilot, 61-year-old David Willey, was killed Sept. 26 when the plane crashed in West Tisbury shortly after takeoff from Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Willey was the only person aboard the aircraft, which was bound for Boston.

The report said the Cessna climbed to 400 feet shortly after takeoff, made a slight left turn, and was turning right when radar contact was lost at an altitude of 700 feet and a ground speed of 160 knots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

gchappell@bangordailynews.net

236-4598

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