Barkley Regional Airport considers expanding airline options

Another airline could be landing at Barkley Regional Airport. Right now, the one option for passengers is United Express, which only flies to Chicago.

The airport hasn’t decided to bring in a new airline yet, but it is starting the conversation. It began on Facebook. A survey asked: "Would you fly from Paducah to Nashville if you had to book at least two flights to get your final destination, fly on a smaller plane, and check your luggage a second time?"

Two flights a day, six days a week, and one flight on Saturdays mean up to 100 potential customers every day for three rental car companies at Barkley. Eddie Narozniak has owned the Hertz there for 32 years. “There used to be planes here from St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Evansville, and Louisville," he said.

Narozniak isn’t sure a new destination will help business. He’s worried that, if customers can’t get off one plane and connect to another with ease, they’ll just drive to a place like Nashville or St. Louis instead of flying.

Airport spokesman Eddie Grant says no decision has been made about a new airline or destination. “It was basically just casting a wide net, using Nashville as a jumping off point,” he said about the Facebook survey.

Other cities, like St. Louis, are also on the table.

Right now, United Express is subsidized by the Department of Transportation at around $47 per ticket. Grant says a new airline wouldn’t get that subsidy, because only one airline qualifies. 

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