Out of the four Essential Air Service (EAS) airlines who presented proposals last week, the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport board of directors has recommended Cape Air to continue its EAS program for the local area.
Airport Director Rob Barnett said that while a lot of criteria and factors went into consideration, the board made their choice based on the graded criteria submitted by local business leaders and community citizens, as well as public feedback the board read through social media posts and online and print media outlets.
“Believe it or not, Cape Air service came out on top,” Barnett said. “They have new planes and a new contract that includes a new destination — Nashville. They will be flying to both St. Louis and Nashville, and their contract is set to start on January 1.”
Before Cape Air officially continues its professional relationship with the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, the Department of Transportation must review the board’s recommendation, as well as Cape Air’s proposal, Barnett said.
“They will make a decision within the next six weeks,” he said. “Ultimately, the DOT’s EAS program experts will make the decision. We have a good relationship with Cape Air, a good history of working together.”
Barnett said he and the board are pleased with the decision to continue Owensboro’s relationship with Cape Air, a company that’s been serving the community since 2011.
“They have great dependability and reliability. Another major plus in choosing Cape Air is their interline co-chair connectivity,” Barnett said. “When passengers check their bags in Owensboro, they prefer not to have to re-screen through TSA for their next flight. Cape Air has a lot of options to connect [without having to re-screen luggage].”
While some people have complained about the choice to include Nashville in the lineup of ESA flights, Barnett said there’s a lot of positives that come with having Owensboro-to-Nashville flights. By flying directly to Nashville, rather than driving to Nashville to fly out of the same airport, Barnett said Owensboro residents will benefit from cheaper local parking prices, save money on gas and food, and will get through security much more quickly than they would in Nashville.