Monday, September 5, 2011

Lexington To Vegas? Well La De Dah!

It was announced last week that Lexington is to get nonstop service to Las Vegas.

This is progress?

Well, maybe so. Additional air service is a good thing, even to Vegas..and the carrier is bringing in the biggest plane yet regularly scheduled for Blue Grass field. That's good. No more puddle jumpers.

But, where's the additional service non stop to, say, Washington, or to a couple of other places we need a lot more than Vegas? I'm sure our business community could suggest several places of greater importance than Sin City in the Desert.

I'm an aviation buff. Took my first flight in an open cockpit biplane; took my first commercial flight in a DC-3 which was forced down one airport short of my destination with ice on the wings! (Ended up getting there on the bus.) I want to see Lexington's air service improved.

So let me state as emphatically as I can; the single most important improvement, the single most important economic development for Central Kentucky, including Frankfort, is this: get Southwest Airlines to commit to staying here after its merger with AirTran is complete.

There are problems. SWA is already in Louisville and that may be too close. But there are arguments to keep the carrier here...and if I were Mayor Jim Gray (and Governor Steve Beshear), I would be putting those arguments forth every way I can. I've heard zip from either of them.

Mayor Jim, let's get your new regional partner, Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville to agree to help, not to block Lexington because of the closeness to the Derby City. And governor, we need your help, and that of the state tourism and economic development agencies also.

We'll also need chamber of commerce-type groups, and the airport authority...even the Kentucky bourbon industry, because I hear that the founder of SWA is a fan of Wild Turkey and that's much closer to Lexington than Louisville. He's a sharp businessman; get Wild Turkey to offer him a place on its board!

We've got to fight for Southwest anyway we can. You have no idea how important being a SWA city is...and a helluva lot more important than a nonstop flight to Vegas. Besides, you can get there on SWA, if you're willing to fool around a bit; and I mean take some flights that aren't nonstop.

Let's pull out all the stops to get Southwest here!

I'm just sayin'...

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