BGWC Regional Airport announces 2017 commercial flights

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Bowling Green Warren County Regional Airport announced Wednesday that commercial flights will be returning for 2017.

After mixed success in 2016, the airport will look to minimize risk and continue to provide South Central Kentucky with a unique service.

2016 was the learning curve for the airport, and Airport Manager Rob Barnett says 2017 will be a little bit different.

"We're very excited today," says Barnett, "to announce that Contour Airlines will begin serving our community back to Destin again for the summer of 2017."

The flights will begin May 13 and will continue through August 13.

"This year we're setting the schedule more around the summer months around a time when people typically vacation," says Barnett.

Last year, when commercial flights were brought into Bowling Green, passengers could also fly to Atlanta. That wasn't as successful as Destin, and isn't an option this year.

While the less successful flight to Atlanta may make it difficult, but not impossible, to broker a deal with a major hub airport in the future, Rob Barnett says they can still play off of the success they did have in 2016.

"We know the Destin route proved itself in 2016," he explains, "so for 2017 we minimize our financial risk, ask for the community to come out and support, and consider flying to Destin."

Barnett says continued success of the Destin flights could prove to other airlines and airports that Bowling Green is a viable business partner, but it's not possible without community support.

"We want to make sure that this particular route sustains itself financially," he goes on. "That will allow us to look at other airlines, to have data, to have ticket sales to approach other airlines, and say 'are you interested in serving our community?'"

Barnett believes the flights to Destin in 2016 were successful enough to hopefully bring further flights and destinations in the future.

"The majority of passengers that flew to Destin absolutely fell in love with that particular flight, but at the end of the day you have to prove to an airline that your community will use that service," he says. "In the future hopefully we can look at adding flights. We can look at other airlines, and all those things but first and foremost we've got to prove this market."

Barnett says future destinations would likely be similar to Destin. Tickets to Destin are not yet on sale but will be available in the coming weeks.

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