Scheduled commercial air service is now a reality in Pike County, KY WSAZ-TV (Huntington/Charleston) web site

Article originally posted to the WSAZ-TV (Huntington/Charleston) web site on October 6, 2013

(Click on the link above to see video news report)

UPDATE 11/6/13 @ 3:30 p.m.
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) — Scheduled commercial air service is now a reality in Pike County, Ky.

A ceremony formally announcing the air service was held Wednesday afternoon at the airport.

Beginning on March 3, 2014, Appalachian Air will provide one daily roundtrip flight between Pikeville-Pike County Regional Airport (PBX) and Nashville International Airport (BNA).

Upon arrival at BNA, passengers will be able to connect to any of the nine airlines which currently serve BNA with nonstop service to 50 major destinations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to a news release from Gov. Steve Beshear.

The aircraft which will be used for the flights, a Jetstream J32, was also unveiled at the airport ceremony.

Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville City Manager, believes the air service will serve as a catalyst for continued growth in Pike County and Pikeville.

“The development of passenger air service has been a long held goal of the Pikeville community,” said Blackburn. “In fact, one can go back as far as 1968 to see when this issue was first discussed.”

“Scheduled passenger air service will open new opportunities for much of Eastern Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “What has historically been one of the more difficult regions of the Commonwealth to reach will now be less than an hour and a half flying time from connecting to the global air system in Nashville.”

“As we face a new era in eastern Kentucky and work to expand our industrial portfolio, this commercial air service launches us into the competitive market,” said Congressman Hal Rogers. “With new economic challenges ahead, we have to access greater opportunities, embrace new technology and create innovative strategies to shape our future, and this air service will provide unprecedented access to this important energy producing region.”

“Today’s announcement marks a major step forward for our region, and I am confident that this dedicated service will be widely used,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. “This will go a long way in helping us lure more companies to the mountains.”

Passengers boarding flights in Pikeville will undergo security screening and upon arrival in Nashville will deplane at a gate in the main terminal in a sterile area. Passengers will not have to go through any additional security screening in Nashville.