WEG boosted airport

At issue | Various articles on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Just weeks ago, Blue Grass Airport had the distinct pleasure of welcoming visitors from around the world as they arrived for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Over the course of the 16-day event, we were touched by the enthusiasm of our international guests and were intrigued as we learned about them and their cultures.

We worked diligently to provide a memorable first impression that included personal welcome greetings, live Bluegrass music concerts, Kentucky food tastings, currency exchange services, language translation and, above all, a customer service experience befitting the Bluegrass spirit.

Together, the Blue Grass Airport staff, airlines and airport partners successfully accommodated an increased passenger demand. Local travelers who flew through Blue Grass Airport during the Games surely noticed the busy gate areas, larger airplanes and expanded selection of flights. In October, Blue Grass Airport experienced a 39.2 percent increase in passenger boardings, compared to the same month last year. More than 112,000 passengers came through the airport during that time frame.

An event of this magnitude has a great impact on the entire airport community. General aviation activity, hosted by fixed-base operator TAC Air, grew to three times its normal activity. Approximately 700 private and corporate airplanes received services at Blue Grass Airport during the World Equestrian Games. In addition to this activity and scheduled commercial service, the airport also hosted 18 special event charter flights including those for foreign dignitaries, the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, sports teams, military members and horse transports.

We were fortunate to have the assistance of several great community partners during this event. From the excellent LexTran bus service to the many tourism volunteers provided by the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau, many organizations worked with us to fulfill the needs of our customers.

The World Equestrian Games Foundation deserves special thanks; its volunteers personally greeted and transported the more than 460 international athletes who came through the airport.

With more than $66 million of airport improvement projects completed in the last year, our visitors experienced an almost brand new airport. We hope our passengers enjoyed our facility, but most of all, we hope they finished their Central Kentucky visit with a sense of hospitality that they will take back with them and remember for years to come.

Thank you to our employees, the airlines, TAC Air and all of our tenants for helping us showcase Lexington and the Bluegrass region.