Posted on September 17, 2003
WASHINGTON &151; U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that Knoxville has received $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help attract and establish low fare service at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville. The grant is part of the Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program, geared to help communities enhance air service in underserved communities. "This funding is great news for Knoxville and the entire East Tennessee region," said Frist. "Attracting low cost airline service to McGhee Tyson will reduce travel costs for passengers, expand the region's service area while encouraging competition and economic growth in Knoxville. I'm pleased that the Department of Transportation has recognized the efforts of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority to expand Knoxville's transportation infrastructure." "This grant is a significant investment in the region," said Alexander. "Better air service in Knoxville will open up East Tennessee for more travel, business and tourism opportunities. It will also provide more options for more than two million people that fly in and out of McGhee Tyson Airport." With a strong demand for low fare service, the funding will be used to attract and encourage additional airline carriers to McGhee Tyson Airport. The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority will manage the project funds. The Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program was established in 2000 to provide communities with financial and other types of assistance to address air service issues, particularly those relating to insufficient air service or high airfares. A maximum of 40 grants are awarded to communities each year. McGhee Tyson Airport services a population area of nearly 2.5 million, including the geographic regions of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeast Kentucky and parts of Western North Carolina.