Pike County Receives Commercial Air Service Proposal

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Long lines and delays aren't the only things Eastern Kentuckians often have to look forward to when flying. Many times it's often a long drive to a bigger city. That may change now that Pike County could be getting some commercial flights.

Florida based company Air Azul is proposing to offer commercial flights to cities like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and then people can catch connectors if needed there. The deal still needs approval to be a reality, but several in Pike County say this is just what the area needs.

Soon more planes could be taking off and landing at the Pikeville Airport. Airline company Air Azul wants to turn it into a flight hub going to and from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It already has people in Pikeville excited.

"That'd be great. I think it would be excellent for our area," said Pikeville resident Travis Newman.

"I never thought we'd have the opportunity to have this here in the county," said Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.

The opportunity could be a reality. The Air Azul service proposal creates flights to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and later adds Nashville, Charlotte, North Carolina, and maybe Louisville.

"Be a lot more convenient, saving having to drive to Lexington. It would be convenient for a lot of people," Newman said.

Pike County officials say the real goal is to increase development.

"To do that, we've got to have the airline to do that," Rutherford said.

He believes easier accessibility will attract more industries here. The airline plan also includes freight flights for companies to send out or take in goods quicker.

Newman hopes to see the trickle down effect. He believes the airline will increase his car rental business.

Airport changes are needed. The airport doesn't meet Homeland Security regulations and the current terminal isn't big enough, but Judge Rutherford says security upgrades are planned, and Air Azul plans to construct a temporary building until a new terminal is built.

The deal still needs approval from Pikeville City Commission and the Pikeville Airport Board. Air Azul directors said they didn't want to comment until the deal is finalized, but records show they already have more than one million dollars to start the project.

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