Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Number of passengers increase at Owensboro airport

Dave Kirk – 14WFIE

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - More passengers are choosing to fly out of the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

Airport officials say it's been a banner year and they're hoping for even bigger numbers in the new year, if they can land some extra flights.

Ever since the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport started flying to Orlando, their number of passengers has grown. The highest since 1951.
When Bob Whitmer took over as the airport director, he says his main goal was to make sure the airport better served the community.

Whitmer says, "The airport is a public airport. It's here for community service and you know you gotta have something for the residents for the Tri-State for this airport to be functioning and now we have that."
Whitmer says the airport has had it's best year to date reaching record numbers of passengers.

Whitmer says, "The boarding's at the Daviess County Regional Airport are up 60 percent over last year. We expect with in the next few days to be beyond 16,000.

The reason for the growth?

Bob Whitmer says, "Allegiant Airlines is a very attractive low cost carrier. It's direct flights to Orlando. We hope to have direct flights to Las Vegas in the near future."

Travel agent Joy Miller thinks Vegas flights would bring more people into Owensboro to fly than ever.

Miller says, "I've had very many people come in and ask about Vegas. It's going to bring in a lot more to this community I think."

Whitmer says the ball's in Allegiant Air's court when it comes to Vegas flights.

Whitmer says, "We've done everything they've asked us to do."
So what's the hold up?

Miller says, "I'm thinking mainly, it's how many flights they have a day."
Whitmer says they should know some time early next year if the Vegas flights will become a reality. In the meantime, airport leaders are doing everything they can to make the airport more attractive.

Whitmer says, "Our terminal's rather small and it's been an issue as far as our holding area. We've already worked on some designs. There's a gift shop that's opened up that's serving refreshments and food."

Travel agent Joy Miller predicts the cost of a ticket to Vegas nonstop from Owensboro to be just a little more than flying to Orlando. That cost $39 one way.