Cape Air has delivered its new aircraft to the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.
On June 23, after manufacturing delays brought on by COVID-19, the airline delivered the much anticipated twin-engine Tecnam P2012 Travellers, a nine-passenger aircraft that will now take airport patrons back and forth from Nashville and St. Louis, said Rob Barnett, airport director.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said. “It is an extraordinary piece of equipment. It arrived on the last flight of the day on June 23 and now is in full operation for our Nashville and St. Louis flights. These aircraft are manufactured in Italy, so when COVID-19 hit, its delivery and manufacturing were delayed, but now it is here. The features available with the new aircraft are great. It is quieter, the ride is smoother and there are a new amenities such as cell phone chargers to allow passengers to do what they need to do.”
In July 2019, the airport’s board of directors voted unanimously to recommend that Cape Air remain the region’s Essential Air Service provider with a new two-year contract that the Department of Transportation later approved.
Aside from offering a new plane from the airline’s fleet, Cape Air managed to beat outAir Choice One, Boutique Air and Southern Airways for the contract by opening up flights to Nashville and guaranteeing $50,000 in marketing dollars. Another major feather in the airline’s cap is its long-standing relationship with community, said Barnett.
“When you look at the master plan for the airport and the improvements that we have made, a solid EAS partner is vital,” he said. “Cape Air has been supportive throughout. Part of their package was the promise of the new aircraft as they move to replace their fleet, which was important for us in selecting an airline for that contract.”
The new routes and new aircraft are a major boon for the airport as the airline industry slowly rebounds, and Barnett and his staff resume their ongoing push to open up more destinations, he said.
“With Cape Air, we have a new aircraft and new destinations,” he said. “From a marketing standpoint, it helps us cross-market and attract more people in to give the routes a try. Since opening up Nashville, we have seen an influx of passengers that are flying from Nashville, connecting in Owensboro and flying to St. Louis. The ticket prices are cheaper and the carryover and convenience is beneficial because it increases our passenger numbers and exposure for us and Cape Air.”
While the airport’s users have not returned to their pre-COVID numbers, they are close and the hope is that, with the new aircraft and renewed marketing initiatives, the airport will be able to match and exceed those numbers, especially through their continued partnership with Cape Air, Barnett said.
“When the world returns to normal, we will be resuming our marketing efforts in Nashville,” he said. “When the industry shut down, everything shut down in terms of marketing. We want to make sure connectivity is 100% back in place and we will resume those initiatives in both St. Louis and Nashville. Nashville was booming prior to the pandemic and hopefully that will start back up again soon. We are more than pleased, especially with the new opportunities that are on the horizon, and I want to encourage everyone to get that flying experience in the new airplane. It is a great asset to our community.”
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, email@example.com.