The Elizabethtown (KY) Airport Board (EAB) operates the city’s municipal airport, Addington Field – Elizabethtown Regional Airport (EKX). The EAB decided to respond to numerous inquiries received from area citizens and businesses regarding the establishment of passenger airline service at EKX.
The EAB initially retained Luke Schmidt and L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC for the purpose of conducting a market feasibility study to confirm the presence of a viable passenger airline service market in Central Kentucky. Following the completion of the feasibility study, the EAB elected to proceed with the project to formally recruit an airline to EKX and again retained L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC to direct the project
The Market Feasibility Study (276 pages) included detailed demographic research into each of the 24 counties in the regional air service market. Highlights of the Study (and the updated market profile which followed) include:
- Analysis of Fort Knox travel patterns
- Summary of Fort Knox market (current Commands and incoming Commands)
- Projected annual passenger enplanements by developing the Origin & Destination Study
- Detailed demographic information on Elizabethtown Metro area
- Analysis of regional driving distances, costs and times to all regional commercial airports
- Develop communications/promotion strategy for the airport
- Develop regional support for passenger airline service
- Address airport infrastructure issues
- Recruit airlines to EKX
Project milestones include:
- Re-branded the airport by changing the airport’s name to reflect new regional mission
- Developed new airport logo and related collateral materials
- Developed new airport Web site
- Developed concept design for new passenger terminal
- Developed an unprecedented level of regional support for new passenger service at EKX along with key support at Fort Knox (included 72 resolutions and 200+ letters of support from government jurisdictions and chambers of commerce from 22 counties in support of EKX’s USDOT Small Community Air Service Development grant proposal)
- Began efforts to develop contract military airfares
- Started airline recruitment process with formal and ongoing discussions with all major network carriers and one low-cost carrier
- Attended the airline industry JumpStart Conference in Pittsburgh
- Established a schedule of airline airport charges and fees
Luke Schmidt also worked with the EAB to address airport infrastructure issues. Luke Schmidt facilitated initial meetings with former Congressman Ron Lewis for the purpose of securing funding for an Instrument Landing System (ILS) Glide Slope (which will be installed in 2013). This included multiple trips to Memphis, TN with airport board members to meet with FAA regional officials.
The EAB commissioned a set of concept drawings for a new passenger terminal.
In 2012 and in response to this project, the runway at EKX received a significant pavement overlay which now will allow for sustained operations of 76-passenger Canadair CRJ-900 regional jets for the next 15 years (along with occasional Boeing 737/757 charter flights).
Significant progress has been made towards the attainment of the goals set forth with this project. This ongoing project has the potential to substantially impact future economic development efforts in Central Kentucky and will assist in creating new jobs.