Bowling Green Airport Officials To Keep Working Toward Commercial Airline

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Officials at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport have been working to bring commercial airline service to the area.

However, Gov. Steve Beshear has vetoed funding that would have gotten them closer to that goal.

"Losing the opportunity via the veto for that $750,000 incentive is very disappointing, very disappointing," said Rob Barnett, the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport.

Barnett has been working for several years to bring a commercial airline to our region.

He says not having that money reduces the airport's capability to attract airlines.

"They're retiring a lot of the regional jets out of their fleets because of age factors and fuel consumption issues. So the cost of doing business for those airlines is higher than it ever has been when you take all those things into consideration. So they're being very careful about opening new markets that have risk associated with them."

Barnett says because the State and House approved the funding, he was surprised when Gov. Beshear vetoed it Friday.

"We would be bringing those tax dollars that are currently being spent in Tennessee back across the state line and back into Kentucky -- be it rental cars, ticket purchases, passenger facility charges."

He says there's a need for a commercial airline in the area, as more than 700,000 tickets were purchased in the 10-county region last year.

That's why he's been working to build an attractive financial package of about two million dollars to sway an airline to operate here.

"We certainly were very close to getting an airline. We're about two steps behind that now and we'll find a way to move forward."

Barnett says he'll continue working with the city and state representatives to convince Beshear to allow for the funding and get those flights here.

The governor's veto message said while there's limited funds in the Aviation Economic Development fund, the project is worthy and could be financed at a later time.

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