PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Wednesday was described as a monumental day for Pikeville and our region as officials announced the first passenger airline to serve Eastern Kentucky.
For years it has been a dream for many leaders in Pike County and the commonwealth.
"Commercial air service is terribly important in linking up particularly the business community with the rest of the world," said Congressman Hal Rogers.
On Wednesday those leaders made the official announcement that the first passenger air service, Appalachian Air, to serve Eastern Kentucky is landing here at the Pikeville-Pike County Regional Airport, beginning with daily roundtrip flights to Nashville International Airport in March.
"As leaders of the great people of the Appalachian region we must stop living in the dreams of yesterday, wake up and understand the reality of today and find smart ways of making a better and brighter tomorrow," said Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn.
Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers, both deemed instrumental in getting commercial air service here, say it is another step in moving the region forward and making it more accessible.
They say it is a great beginning to something they announced recently called Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR.
"Everybody took a lot of risk to get us to where we are today. That's what it's going to take to move our region ahead. We can do it. This is proof we can do it. It's a vital part of moving our region ahead," said Gov. Steve Beshear.
And they are hoping the air service will help business and tourism in the mountains take off.