KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — Federal authorities have approved SkyWest Airlines as the subsidized service provider for the Kearney airport, but flights won't begin until fall.

City Manager Mike Morgan announced the U.S. Transportation Department decision on Tuesday. He says the company will use 50-seat jets and operate under the United Express flag for Kearney travelers to and from Denver.

First, though, reconstruction of Kearney Regional Airport's main runway must be finished. The $12 million project is 90 percent federally paid and is expected to be completed by Sept. 1.

SkyWest also was selected to serve North Platte and Scottsbluff airports, replacing PenAir.

Kearney hasn't had commercial passenger service since Sept. 10, when Anchorage, Alaska-based PenAir halted flights to some communities in Kansas and Nebraska after filing a bankruptcy reorganization plan.