Four Airlines Bids to Provide EAS Service to Owensboro

Current EAS provideer, RegionsAir, submitted a bid as did Mesa Air Group of Phoenix; Big Sky Airlines of Billings, Mont.; and Great Lakes Airlines of Cheyenne, Wyo.

Big Sky is proposing special fares of $80 to either St. Louis or Cincinnati. It says it will drop that to $60 for the first 90 days as a promotional fare.

It also promises EasyFares that "offer travelers the lowest fares up to the day of travel and no advance purchase."

Bradshaw said Cincinnati offers nonstop service to 111 cities with 3,150 weekly flights.

St. Louis, he said, offers 1,800 weekly flights to 62 cities.

He said he's still researching Memphis and Nashville.

The new contract is scheduled to take effect June 1.

The community has 30 days to let the Department of Transportation know its preference for the contract.

Bradshaw said he has a conference call today with airport managers in the other five cities -- Burlington, Iowa; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Jackson, Tenn.; and Marion/Herrin, Ill.

"I don't know if the DOT will do this as a package or split us up," he said. "But we need to know what the other communities are planning to propose."

The final recommendation will be made by the city, county and airport board, Bradshaw said.

But DOT officials will determine who gets the contract.

"We need to make sure that DOT understands our needs," Bradshaw said.

But he said the choices being offered "won't please everybody."

Boardings last year at Owensboro airport were the highest in three years.

RegionsAir reported 4,590 passengers on its flights in 2006 -- up 1,035 from the 3,555 reported in 2005.

But the numbers would have been much higher without the canceled flights.

Copyright (c) 2007, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News. For reprints, email , call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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