By Rachel Dove
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - The start of commercial air service out of Pikeville, Ky., is being delayed for approximately six weeks, according to county officials.
In November, state and local leaders announced that Appalachian Air would provide one daily round-trip flight between Pikeville-Pike County Regional Airport and Nashville, Tenn., starting on March 3.
Last Wednesday, officials announced they now hope to get Appalachian Air officially off the ground on April 14, and said that ticket sales will start Feb. 24.
Officials said the delay is due to some issues they cannot control like the time it took to get the proper certifications, which they say was slowed due to the government shutdown.
“We are dealing with things like improving infrastructure at the airport and dealing with creating a TSA screening and security plan … we are in the middle of that right now,” said air service consultant Luke Schmidt.
The announcement of the delay was made the same day that more than a dozen people took a trial fight to check out Nashville International Airport. Passengers on Appalachian Air will fly in and out of Terminal C, which is in the main hub of the Nashville airport, with 70 percent of the airport’s business taking place in that terminal. Once in Nashville, passengers will not have to go back through security, making for easy, quick connections.
“The Nashville airport is growing and it has a lot of service, but it is not Atlanta and it is not Chicago, which on any scale are huge, complex, and can be cumbersome,” Schmidt said.
More information on the opening and the start of flights out of Pikeville is expected to be announced in the near future.