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Paducah airport recommends new carrier

Barkley Regional Airport recommended a new carrier to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:50 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 2:32 PM CDT
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PADUCAH, Ky. (KFVS) - Another Heartland airport wants to fly with Contour Aviation.

The Board for the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah recommended the carrier on a proposal that would offer flights to Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to a news release from the airport, Charlotte is an American Airlines hub that will provide connection access to more than 133 domestic and 35 international destinations.

They said American’s Charlotte hub will offer 572 domestic flights compared to only 419 at O’Hare.

Officials say the airport considered staying with SkyWest, which takes travelers to Chicago, but said SkyWest’s pilot shortage would lead to more flight disruptions.

“This is truly a transformative era at Barkley Regional Airport,” Jay Matheny, chairman of the Barkley Regional Airport Authority, said in a release. “As we near completion of our new, state-of-the-art terminal, we are also excited to bring new air service to our patrons. Contour Airlines immediately established itself as a front-runner to provide replacement essential air service to Barkley Regional Airport by offering affordable (and reliable) twin-engine, jet service to a major airline hub. We appreciate the dedication of our patrons, stakeholders, elected officials, community leaders, and consultants who continue to work hard to make this transition a reality.”

According to the release, Contour’s bid was the only one that offered twin-engine jet service. As part of the bid, they proposed a $65 average fare from Paducah to Charlotte.

“Charlotte is an international hub,” Emily Roark, vice chair at Barkley Regional Airport Authority, said. “You can fly to Charlotte for a very low cost and go anywhere in the world with one connection. If you want to go to Aruba, you can fly to Charlotte, get to Aruba one connection. You can leave Paducah, fly to Charlotte, get to London with one connection.”

Contour will also offer one complimentary checked bag at Barkley.

They also plan to offer $19 super fares each way “to help stimulate demand and increase passenger traffic.”

Changes at Barkley Airport could happen within the next 90-120 days.

According to the airport, SkyWest will maintain service until Contour is ready to serve them.

Barkley is the second Heartland airport in a week to recommend Contour Aviation.

On Monday, the Cape Girardeau City Council voted to go with Contour over SkyWest on a plan that would offer flights to Nashville, Tennessee.

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