New airline to begin service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport

Savannah Vasquez
svasquez@thedestinlog.com
Contour Airlines will soon offer direct flights between Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Contour Airlines announced Tuesday that they will be offering direct flights from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport starting in August.

The plan is for the new route to initially run seasonally from April to October twice a week.

“This marks our third new carrier in 2016,” said Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport Director Tracy Stage, with Contour joining GLO and Allegiant airlines. “It will fly to Destin at least twice a week starting in August on a seasonal basis.”

The small airline, based out of Smyrna, Tennessee, currently offers flights between Tupelo, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, starting as low as $49 each way. With added routes between Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Atlanta, and Bowling Green and Destin, Stage said the airline will need to keep with those competitive prices to get customers in the door.

“The fares they come out with will determine their success,” Stage said. “They are going to need to attract folks off the highway.”

As for Bowling Green, this new airline will be the first to offer direct flights from the south-central Kentucky town in 44 years.

“Until now, our closest airport was in Nashville, Tennessee, so we are excited to give the folks in our community the opportunity to drive a short distance to their local airport,” said Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport Manager Rob Barnett.

Barnett said the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area was a no-brainer to offer service to.

“I don’t have to tell you how many Kentucky license plates are driving around Destin in the spring and summer,” he said. “It’s always been a goal of ours to offer a flight to Destin. Now we are going to give our folks the opportunity to visit your beautiful, beautiful town.”

Barnett added that Bowling Green also has a lot to offer for those wishing to travel from Destin.

Located just an hour north of Nashville, Bowling Green boasts great natural wonders such as Mammoth Cave and Lost River Cave, and is known for its bourbon distilleries and the Corvette plant and museum.

“That will be our motivation primarily to bring people here,” said Executive Director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Vicki Fitch.