State and local officials were expected to be in Pikeville today (Wednesday) to announce daily roundtrip air service from Pike County Regional Airport to Nashville International Airport.
Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers and other local and state leaders were expected to be at the Pikeville airport at 2 p.m. on Wednesday to formally announce that Corporate Flight Management (CFM) of Smyrna, Tennessee will conduct all flight operations using its BAE Jetstream 19-passenger turboprop airliners.
“The new flights to Nashville will be timed to allow Pikeville travelers to connect to nonstop connecting flights to 49 destinations throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” said Luke B. Schmidt, president of L.B. Schmidt & Associates LLC and project consultant said recently.
“Travelers will be able to connect to any of the nine airlines which serve (Nashville), including low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines which has a major presence in Nashville,” Schmidt continued. “Fully 23 of the top 25 business destinations for Pikeville travelers will be only one stop away by connecting in Nashville. This new service will eliminate the need to drive to Lexington, Charleston and Huntington/Ashland when it comes time to travel,” said Schmidt.
In 2011, the City of Pikeville was awarded a $750,000 U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development grant for the purpose of funding the city’s revenue guarantee to the spany to commit to providing service. This grant was augmented with a multi-county coal severance tax grant of $1 million, which was announced last year by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. Since the governor’s announcement, the state grant has been reduced to $670,588 because of the reduction in coal mining and receipts to the state’s multi-county coal severance tax fund.
The new service, which is expected to begin in March 2014, will feature nonstop turboprop flights operated by CFM under contract to Public Charters Inc. of Avoca, Pennsylvania. PC will provide all ticket distribution, ticket counter, and check-in services, as well as coordination of ground handling and fueling services in both Pikeville and Nashville. PC will also develop sales platforms for tickets for the new flights on virtually every Internet travel site, such as Travelocity, etc. Tickets will also be available for sale via PC’s web site and over the telephone.