The local airport board of directors is recommending that the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport (OWB) stick with Cape Air as their Essential Air Service (EAS) carrier. The recommendation includes maintaining the daily schedule of two round-trip flights to Nashville and one to St. Louis.
Cape Air, which has served Owensboro since 2011, beat out two other bidders. The current contract expires at the end of the year.
At the recommendation of Airport Director Tristan Durbin, the board is recommending a new two-year contract. OWB will take a recommendation to the Department of Transportation, which has the final say.
The EAS program is subsidized by the federal government through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program was enacted to guarantee that small communities maintained commercial service.
EAS air carriers differ from private airlines such as Allegiant, which will continue its Owensboro-to-Orlando flights as usual.
The two other bids came from Air Choice One and Southern Airways Express.
Some of the primary factors in recommending Cape Air were their codeshares and interline agreements.
Code sharing allows airlines to sell tickets to destinations they do not fly to — essentially meaning a passenger has more options from which to purchase a ticket. Cape Air codeshares with American Airlines, and tickets can also be purchased from United and Delta’s website.
When airlines have an interline agreement in place, it means they will handle the check in and baggage for each other’s passengers. Cape Air has such agreements with United, Delta, American, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Alaska, Qatar, and Condor.
“The airport board would like to thank both Air Choice One and Southern Airways Express for their interest in serving the community,” Durbin said. “Cape Air’s continued success, safety record, commitment to the community, and ability to connect the Owensboro-Daviess County area with other communities across the country were key factors in the board’s decision. Cape Air has done an excellent job of serving the community since 2011.”