A celebration was held Monday at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport to pay tribute to the successful 10-year partnership between OWB and Allegiant Air.
Rob Barnett took over as airport director on Nov. 26 after Bob Whitmer announced his retirement earlier in the year. Barnett, previously the manager for the Bowling Green/Warren County Regional Airport, has already added additional flights to and from Orlando to satiate an increased demand in summer travel.
Barnett said he tried to form a partnership with Allegiant in Bowling Green, to no avail. According to Barnett, Allegiant has stayed loyal to Owensboro, and the airline likes where things stand on a business front.
“Economic benefits—if you think about having an airline of that size and of that reputation serving a community the size of Owensboro, it doesn’t happen very often, I can promise you,” Barnett said. “I pursued them in Bowling Green for years. They like it here, they’re committed here, we have a great performance record with them. We receive awards every year from Allegiant on our costs per performance, our on-time performance, all of those things.”
Barnett told the crowd that having an airport and airline who stay loyal to Owensboro has been economically beneficial to the community.
“From generating revenue out on the ramp, from tickets for passengers, from capturing the parking revenue, from the rental cars, even down to the vending sales to the hotel,” Barnett said. “The CVB loves them as well because they put heads in beds.”
Barnett said Allegiant and the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport have served over 320,000 people from the Owensboro airport alone.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s mostly due to the board members that are sitting among you today and the staff who were here long before I got here,” Barnett said. “I’m just making the announcement.”
In telling the crowd how proud and excited he was to have Allegiant’s air services in Owensboro, he also said he’s been pushing Allegiant to bring back flights to Las Vegas and Destin. Jay Alvarez, regional manager of stations at Allegiant, was in attendance for the celebration.
“I was talking to Jay, asking him, ‘OK, Jay, tell me what we’ve got to do to get Vegas back. Tell me what we’ve got to do to get Destin back,’” Barnett said. “I’m tenacious enough to follow up and look at other routes as aircraft become available. We’re going to continue serving the people as best we can in this environment.”
Tanner+West Advertising and Design Agency worked with the airport to make a giveaway happen. The winner for two round-trip tickets to Orlando was announced, and Allegiant swag was on display and available for the taking.
The Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport board chair Ed Riney commended Whitmer and former board chair Ray Assmar, who served more than 13 years on the board, for their many contributions made toward the airport.
“[Whitmer] took the job as interim airport director, and it was not an easy job, and he did it well for 10 years. We are delighted to have had Allegiant for 10 years,” Riney said. “It’s been a great relationship.”