Aug. 23--Flying out of Owensboro just got cheaper.
Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is offering 10 percent cash rebates on all flights out of the airport between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30.
And if there's enough money left, Airport Manager Tim Bradshaw said, the program may be extended into the Christmas season.
The rebate is on the base cost of the ticket -- not taxes and fees, Bradshaw said. And there's a limit of $100 per person.
Bradshaw said he's been told that the average ticket from Owensboro is about $300. That would make the average rebate about $30.
Earlier this month, RegionsAir, the commuter airline linking Owensboro and St. Louis, launched a $99 -- plus tax -- round-trip ticket between the two cities.
And the 10 percent rebate applies to those tickets as well, Bradshaw said.
That would lower the cost to $89.10 plus tax.
The idea behind the rebate and round-trip tickets to St. Louis is to boost passenger loads so the airport won't lose passenger service.
On July 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation notified the airport that its per-passenger subsidy had reached $205.07 for the year ending March 31.
The maximum allowed by federal law is $200 per passenger. When the cost tops that amount, passenger service can be lost.
Bradshaw said passenger levels have increased enough since March to drop below $200. But the airport board is trying to build a bigger margin of security.
Passengers will still pay the full amount for tickets out of Owensboro. But they can submit their boarding passes and receipts within 30 days to get the rebate.
Bradshaw said Monday that he expects the rebates to boost passenger loads.
Especially when they're combined with skyrocketing prices for gas.
"It's getting more expensive to drive to another airport," Bradshaw said. "Plus we have free parking."
The after-effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are driving costs of the federal subsidy that keeps air service in Owensboro to the breaking point.
DOT is paying Tennessee-based RegionsAir $1.23 million a year to provide 12 flights a week to St. Louis on 19-seat planes.
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