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Date ArticleType
10/30/2018 Member News
LRAD Develops First-Ever Nonstop West Coast Air Service from SDF


LRAD Develops First-Ever Nonstop West Coast Air Service from SDF

Louisville – Los Angeles American Airlines Nonstop Flights Begin April 2, 2019

Louisville, Ky. (October 25, 2018) – Officials from Louisville Regional Airlift Development, Inc. (LRAD) joined Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, and Louisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA) Executive Director Dan Mann in announcing new nonstop air service between Louisville International Airport (SDF) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The new daily roundtrip service, which begins on April 2, 2019 will be operated by American Airlines with an Airbus A 319 mainline, dual-class aircraft. The new service marks the first-ever regularly scheduled nonstop service between Louisville and the West Coast. The schedule is designed to serve business travelers in both markets and tickets go on sale online ( on November 3, 2018.

LRAD was created in 2017 by leading regional business and community leaders to help facilitate new nonstop air service routes from SDF to key markets on both coasts. Recognizing the need for developing competitive incentives to help attract new flights, LRAD introduced a strategy new to Louisville but one which has been used successfully in other markets across the country – the minimum revenue guarantee (MRG). MRGs enable the community to share in the initial risk of a new route with an airline as the route builds to a sustainable, profitable level. LRAD is providing its first MRG to American Airlines, which will be used only if the carrier falls short of its revenue target during the first two years on the SDF – LAX route.

“This is an exciting day for the Louisville region and the Commonwealth. Since Day One, establishing nonstop, passenger air service from SDF to unserved, major U.S. markets has been our top priority,” said Koleman Karleski, LRAD Chairman. “Los Angeles and the broader Southern California region was atop our target list, based on passenger demand and because it represents one of the world’s most important markets. American’s new
nonstop service to LAX will open countless new commerce opportunities for the region’s businesses and will help to create new jobs.

As part of its mission, LRAD has established strategic partnerships with public agencies, including the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Louisville Forward/Louisville Metro Government, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louisville Renaissance Zone, and numerous businesses and corporations. These partnerships produced financial pledges which will be used to fund LRAD’s MRG program.

“The support of our strategic partners has enabled LRAD to develop an effective incentive program, which works in tandem with incentives provided by LRAA to airlines operating new qualifying flights,” said Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC and project consultant to LRAD. “When it was first formed, LRAD set a goal of establishing new nonstop service from SDF to Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle – the four most underserved (non-nonstop) markets. We’ve secured LAX, but we need to continue to build support for our next three markets, all of which are important business destinations. It is critical to maintain this momentum and we want to build new and additional partnerships with businesses and corporations throughout the region,” said Schmidt.

Both Karleski and Schmidt noted that new nonstop service is also critical to supporting Louisville’s convention and tourism business, including making it easier to bring visitors to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. New nonstop service to key markets also will help to bring new business and manufacturing operations to the region, including Elizabethtown and Southern Indiana.

“And,” Schmidt continued, “this new flight now eliminates the need for local travelers to drive to Cincinnati to catch a nonstop flight to Los Angeles!”