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Airline considers adding flight

SOMERSET — The lone airline serving Somerset is exploring adding a commuter flight to Cincinnati to go with the city's current route to Nashville.

Air Azul President Trevor Sadler told The Commonwealth-Journal that adding a flight to a second city from Lake Cumberland Regional Airport is possible, but it will take more work to draw passengers.

"We're trying to find what a schedule (to Cincinnati) would look like and when it could get started," Sadler said.

The Surfside, Fla.-based airline made its first Somerset-based flight to Nashville on Dec. 27, marking the culmination of 15 years of work by local and federal officials to land a commercial carrier at the south-central Kentucky airfield.

Passengers fly on the "City of Somerset," a Metro III twin-engine turboprop aircraft.

The airline commuter service is bolstered financially with a $1 million essential air service grant from the federal government.

Sadler and Rob Barker, senior associate of airport planning firm R.A. Wiedemann and Associates, said they are hoping more people will choose the local commuter service instead of driving to Louisville or Lexington to catch a flight. Three or four passengers on the 19-seat aircraft are the norm on the Friday-Monday flights to and from Nashville, Barker said.

There is a varied response.

"We've had a couple of capacity loads ... as well as some cancellations when it wasn't feasible to make the flight," Barker said.

Air Azul, founded in 2007, operates under the certificate of its parent company, Locair, an on-demand charter carrier established in 1996. Air Azul's only service is from Somerset to Nashville and back.