Despite losing direct flights to Memphis recently, Lexington's Blue Grass Airport will soon offer non-stop flights to more destinations than it did five years ago.
Within the next month, the airport will serve 15 destinations non-stop, if you count two Orlando, Fla., area airports as separate destinations, as opposed to 13 five years ago.
Non-stop flights to Cincinnati, Newark, N.J.; and Cleveland have been cut out in the past five years, but the airport's direct-flight offerings have increased with the addition of leisure destinations in Florida. And low-cost Allegiant Air will begin non-stop flights to Las Vegas later this month.
Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl said what happened with the Memphis flights is similar to what happened with flights from Lexington to Cincinnati last year. Delta Air Lines is starting to "dehub" the Memphis airport, as it did Cincinnati's, he said.
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Because of that, a lot of communities no longer have service to Memphis, he said.
"We have greater direct destinations now. I think this community's really blessed, given the size of the population we have," especially with the Cincinnati and Louisville airports so close by, he said.
Frankl said Blue Grass Airport is fortunate to have several low-fare direct-service destinations for leisure traffic.
In 2006, the airport's only Florida destination was Orlando. Now, there are flights to Punta Gorda and St. Petersburg/Clearwater. Allegiant will begin flights to Fort Lauderdale later this month, a destination to which AirTran Airways used to fly from Blue Grass Airport.
"We are really pleased to start Las Vegas," Frankl said of leisure-destination traffic. "We would love to get Denver, but then the question is, do we sacrifice another city by getting Denver?"
Frankl said the airport also is lucky in that it has direct flights to many hubs serving international and business travelers.
"We stay in touch with all of the airlines," Frankl said, adding that with airline mergers and bankruptcies, there are not that many airlines anymore. "We're selective in what we pursue, but we try to keep in touch with all the airlines throughout the year," he said.