Project Overview

The Elizabethtown Airport Board (EAB), in response to numerous inquiries and in recognition of the substantial growth that is occurring throughout Central Kentucky, is working to restore passenger airline service at the Addington Field - Elizabethtown Regional Airport.

The Elizabethtown Airport Board (EAB) is working with Louisville-based consultant Luke Schmidt of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC (LBS&A), to lead the project. The project covers the following areas:

  • Market Feasibility Study
  • Regional Outreach
  • Airline Recruitment
  • Airport Infrastructure Issues
  • Passenger Recruitment

Elizabethtown Regional Air Service Market

  • The regional air service market includes a 24 county area with a population of 645,000 and Fort Knox. The large U.S. Army Post is the single largest user of commercial airline service in this region and recently completed a major expansion which resulted in a net increase of 10,000 new jobs by 2012.
  • Each of these counties is closer in driving time and distance to the Elizabethtown Regional Airport than to any of the surrounding commercial airports.
  • Two metropolitan statistical areas--Elizabethtown and Bowling Green--are contained within the market.
  • The core of the market--the Elizabethtown/Fort Knox corridor-- has a population of 91,000 people and is the fourth largest urban area in Kentucky.
  • During the past 10 years, the city of Elizabethtown and surrounding Hardin County have grown substantially. Several companies have built new plants in the region, creating thousands of new jobs. Elizabethtown serves as a major regional center for education, employment, health care, retail shopping, and transportation.

  • Nearby Fort Knox is also growing.  As the result of the most recent round of base realignment (commonly known as BRAC), Fort Knox received several new Commands, including the Human Resource Command, the Cadet Command as well as a new combat brigade team.  All in all, 10,000 new jobs have been created since 2005.

  • Because of the growth at Fort Knox, the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has received many top national economic development rankings, including:

    • Ranked 1st out of 366 U.S. metros in personal income growth in 2010
    • Ranked 1st out of 366 U.S. metros in GDP growth in 2010
    • Ranked 5th out of 366 U.S. metros in growth of business establishments in 2010
    • Ranked 16th out of 366 U.S. metros for best cities for job growth - 2011
    • Led all Kentucky MSAs in job growth – 2010 - 2011
  • In addition, Area Development magazine, one of the nation’s most respected industrial site selection and economic development publications, as part of its annual national survey of 366 U.S. metros ranked the Elizabethtown MSA as follows for 2012:

    • Ranked 5th out of the Top 20 Southern Cities for economic and job
    • Ranked 7th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for “Recession Busting” Factors
    • Ranked 9th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Prime Workforce Growth
    • Ranked 17th out of the Top 50 Small Cities for economic and job growth
    • Ranked 21st out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Economic Strength Factors
    • Ranked 45th out of 365 metros for economic and job growth
  • Akebono Corporation North America recently relocated its North American corporate headquarters from Farmington Hills, Michigan, to Elizabethtown. Wind Energy Corporation also has its corporate headquarters in Elizabethtown.

  • Flex Films USA broke ground on its $180 million new plant which will create 250 new jobs in 2011.  This project represents the first Indian-owned Greenfield plant in the U.S.  Flex Films is also relocating its North American headquarters from Houston, Texas to Elizabethtown.

  • A potential annual enplanement market of 644,066 passengers exists in this region.
  • When ground transportation costs, such as mileage to and from the airport and parking are factored in, Elizabethtown Regional Airport will provide a cost effective alternative for the region's air travelers.
jet preparing for take-off on runway

Significant savings are available to regional businesses, industries, colleges, and universities if new commercial airline service is established in Elizabethtown.

For Fort Knox, having a new commercial airport just 14 miles away will make it much easier for the military installation to complete its missions on a more cost and time efficient basis. Fort Knox is by far the largest user of commercial airline service in the region.

The EAB recognizes that the following parameters must be met in order for this effort to be successful:

  • Recruit a regional airline that is aligned with a major carrier
  • Establish service to a major connecting hub using regional jets

There are many reasons for travelers to consider using Addingtong Field - Elizabethtown Regional Airport. First is convenience. Shorter driving times. Free parking at the door. Check in for flights and processing through security will be fast and efficient.

Benefits of Regional Airline Service to Central Kentucky

There are many benefits to restoring commercial airline service, not only to Elizabethtown, Fort Knox, and Hardin County, but also the entire 24-county region. These benefits include:

  • Cities such as Bowling Green, Glasgow, Campbellsville, Lebanon, Leitchfield, Morgantown, etc., will have new commercial airline service an hour away.
  • Convenient free parking at the door with quick flight check-in and short security lines will expedite travel.
  • Improved accessibility – the region will be further connected to the global economy with improved accessibility due to one-stop jet service to hundreds of destinations.
  • The region will have a new economic development tool that will assist in creating thousands of new jobs.

Addington Field - Elizabethtown Regional Airport

Addington Field - Elizabethtown Regional Airport is one of the most modern airports in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is “regional jet-ready” with a 6,000- foot-long runway. An Instrument Landing System (ILS) (localizer) has been installed and has improved the airport’s all-weather capability. In addition to the localizer, a glide slope is also slated for installation by spring 2013. From a safety standpoint, the city’s main fire station is on airport property. The EAB is prepared to quickly develop a passenger terminal should the appropriate commitment for service be received from an airline.

Regional Support

The Elizabethtown Airport Board is committed to moving forward on this project and restoring commercial airline service. Significant regional support for the project has been established. Luke Schmidt continues to conduct briefings for regional leaders. The EAB solicited support (non-financial) through resolutions and/or letters of support from the following groups:

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Industrial Development Boards
  • City Councils
  • County Fiscal Courts
  • Additional Key Entities

So far, leadership groups in 22 of the 24 counties have passed 72 formal resolutions and over 140 letters of support have been received from regional elected officials, business and industry leaders, and individuals.

picture of airplane at EKX airport

Fort Knox has indicated its support for the project through a letter from the Garrison Commander. A complete list of the government jurisdictions, chamber boards, and industrial development boards that have passed formal resolutions can be found on the Partnership for Central Kentucky Airline Service, along with a list of companies and individuals who have sent letters of support.

Airline Recruitment

Efforts continue to recruit an airline to EKX. The process is expected to take several months and will involve outreach to target airlines through meetings and management presentations.

 

 

  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
  Source: U.S. Census Bureau
  Source: New Geography 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth report
  Source: Moody’s Analytics