The group leading the development of commercial air service in eastern Kentucky says tickets are now on sale for Pikeville’s new commercial air service, Appalachian Air.
“This is a major milestone for this project,” said Luke B. Schmidt, president of Louisville-based L.B. Schmidt & Associates LLC, the consulting firm that has served as the facilitator of this project for the City of Pikeville, the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Board and the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Our project partners have been working diligently towards this day for over three years, and new commercial air service — the first ever in Eastern Kentucky – will soon start on October 27,” Schmidt continued.
The Appalachian Air web site (www.appalachianair.com) is now live and visitors to the site can now plan and book their trips online. Visitors can book round trips from Pikeville (airport code PVL) to Nashville, if Nashville is their final destination, or, visitors can book flights on Appalachian Air to Nashville and then book a second trip and connect to any of the eight airlines that serve Nashville International Airport (airport code BNA) to more than 50 nonstop destinations.
The Appalachian Air web also includes a “Trip Cost Calculator” that will compare the total trip cost not only from Pikeville, but from surrounding airports. In most instances it is expected that total trip costs for passengers will be lower by flying out of Pikeville, Schmidt said.
The first tickets for the new service were purchased October 6 by Rakesh Sachdeva M.D., and his wife, Seema Sachdeva M.D. Dr. Rakesh Sachdeva is also a member of the Pikeville- Pike County Airport Board and a long-time supporter of the project.
The new service will be operated by Public Charters, Inc. (PCI) of Avoca, Pennsylvania, and Corporate Flight Management (CFM) of Smyrna, Tennessee, dba Appalachian Air (FAA: 14 Part 135; DOT 14 C.F.R. Part 298 Commuter) in accordance with 14 C.F.R. Part 380 public charter regulations. CFM will serve as the direct air carrier and will be responsible for all flying aspects of the service. CFM holds the highest safety rating in its class and is the largest operator of the BAE Jetstream J32 in the U.S., the aircraft that will be used on the Pikeville-Nashville route. PCI will serve as the indirect air carrier and will be responsible for ticketing and ground services.
“CFM is proud to be part of this project,” said Allen Howell, CEO of Corporate Flight Management. “Our team has been working for two years towards this day and we are looking forward to providing our unique brand of personal service to our Pikeville customers. The Jetstream J32 is a terrific aircraft, with a pressurized stand-up cabin and we know our customers are going to love flying on it,” Howell said.
“PCI is also proud to be a part of this project,” said Jim Gallagher, President of Public Charters, Inc. “As the Indirect Carrier, our company has been work- ing diligently on all of the non-flying aspects of this project, including ticket sales and aircraft ground handling. We are pleased to see the launch of ticket sales on AppalachianAir. com. We have also made arrangements in Nashville with our partners at Envoy (formerly known as American Eagle), Inshuttle, and Signature Flight Support to provide a pleasant customer experience at BNA,” said Gallagher.
“The launch of ticket sales and flights this month on Appalachian Air is yet another step forward for the City of Pikeville and all of Eastern Kentucky,” said Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville City Manager. “This community has been waiting a long time for this service and we are pleased to serve as the new commercial air gateway to eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and southwestern West Virginia. This service will help all of us to create badly needed new jobs in the coalfields,” Blackburn continued.