Congressman Jim Oberstar has announced federal support for a third daily commercial flight out of the Hibbing-Chisholm airport.
The flight will be subsidized through the federal Department of Transportation's Essential Air Service Program.
Oberstar, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, says the federal decision was based on a convincing presentation by members of the local airport authority.
"This is really good news for the northland," Oberstar said. "At a time when airline service is being cut back, we're in the midst of not only a continuation, but an expansion of air service to the heart of the Iron Range country."
Oberstar predicts the additional daily flight will serve mining executives for new projects, including a steel plant under construction near Nashwauk. The third flight begins this fall.
In 1978, the airline industry was deregulated, giving airlines almost complete freedom to decide which markets to serve. However, the act mandated that service must continue to markets where it previously existed.
The Department of Transportation currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 140 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service, according to its Web site.