Greater Owensboro had more good news when four different air service providers submitted proposals to provide Essential Air Service to Owensboro.
The fact that we had that many companies interested says much about the growth we are experiencing here. It was not too long ago that we were concerned we would have any interest.
The airport board of directors and the leadership of the likes of Tim Bradshaw and Bob Whitmer laid the groundwork for Rob Barnett to take us to the next level. And here we go! Two weeks ago, the board recommended that Cape Air continue to the EAS provider. Cape Air has been an exemplary corporate partner since it came to Owensboro just under a decade ago.
The company is creating opportunities for our residents to have lucrative careers in flying through the Pilot Training Program, and it consistently features Owensboro in its Cape Air Magazine, which is seen by over 500,000 flyers a year. The airline has a ticketing office in the Hampton Inn for those who are not comfortable booking travel online, and there is great customer service at the check-in counter.
This year, Cape Air announced that, if awarded the contract, it will begin flights to Nashville. This is a gamechanger. Nashville is an international airport that will connect us to most anywhere. And the Nashville-bound businessperson or traveler can avoid the traffic risks and delays by using the flights for commuting. It gives us a tremendous opportunity for people who work in Nashville now and who desperately want to live in Owensboro — I hear from several of them a week — a priceless opportunity.
None of this would be possible without the United States Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service Program that subsidizes the airline for providing services. This federal program makes it possible for communities like Owensboro to have transportation access that would be nonexistent otherwise.
Our momentum is continuing across the community. Thanks to our airport board and staff for being such a big part of our ascent!