Mayors of the Cities of Somerset, London and Corbin — in partnership with their airport boards and economic development authorities — formed a regional alliance this week to bring commercial air service to Lake Cumberland Regional Airport in Somerset and recruit air cargo service to the London-Corbin Airport.
Ideally, the deal would transfer London-Corbin Airport’s dormant federal Essential Air Service (EAS) designation to Lake Cumberland Regional Airport and allow it to be reactivated. Doing so would allow for a push to lure in regular air service for local travelers.
The area leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ask federal legislators to make that transfer.
Somerset has been without a regular commercial flight provider since 2010, when Locair’s contract with the City of Somerset was not renewed as it approached the expiration date of a nearly $1 million federal grant that made the flights possible for about a year’s time.
“It is very exciting to see our communities form an alliance and look for ways we can collaborate,” said Chris Girdler, President and CEO of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority, or SPEDA.
“I commend the leaders of Somerset, London, and Corbin for their vision, leadership and willingness to work together to accomplish similar goals. We can do so much more together than if we go it alone,” he added. “This MOU is indicative of many more good things to come and I believe it will help our federal and state officials assist us in improving the quality of life for our region’s citizens.”
There is no deal in place with a particular air service provider as of yet, but Girdler said that there have already been “very productive conversations with major airline carriers” that make them optimistic about bringing the right fit to southern Kentucky.
Added Richard Van Hook, chairman of the Somerset-Pulaski County Airport Board, “The Somerset-Pulaski County Airport Board and Lake Cumberland Regional Airport appreciate Somerset, London and Corbin leaders for joining together with a vision to bring commercial air service to Somerset.
“Investment in our communities enhances future growth and economic development,” he said. “We are looking forward to working together with the team to make this a reality.”
Read more about the efforts three southern Kentucky cities are making to try to bring regular commercial air service to the local airport.