SDFFri 12:39 AM EST
Today state and city leaders, along with the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and American Airlines commemorated the beginning of new nonstop service between Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The airline will operate the daily flight using a 128-seat Airbus 319 aircraft with WiFi and in-seat power.
“We’re beyond excited to launch this new service,” said Dan Mann, Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “American adding Los Angeles service is a vote of confidence in the region and SDF. Cities our size and this distance from Los Angeles generally don’t have nonstop service. Louisville does. We often talk about how we’re winning at SDF and nonstop service to LAX is what winning looks like.”
The flight will provide businesses and area travelers more than 40 connecting options to cities in the western U.S., Hawaii and Asia. It also serves as a link to key Asian business centers including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Plus, it’s the only one-stop connection to Osaka, Japan. Los Angeles was Louisville’s most requested and underserved market prior to American Airlines LAX service announcement in October 2018.
“The data is irrefutable. Growth in this region, including both Kentucky and southern Indiana, will be further fueled by having nonstop access to major markets not currently accessible with a direct flight,” said Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Terry Gill. “This is a tremendous first step, and the major airlines are closely watching this flight’s success. To best leverage this opportunity, businesses in Kentucky and Indiana, as well as leisure travelers, must lend their full support by taking advantage of this flight.”
“It is a great day for Kentucky’s tourism economy, as adding this daily nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Louisville will certainly elevate Kentucky’s status as a national and international tourist destination,” said Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson. “We appreciate all those who helped make this possible, and we invite our friends from the West Coast to come see why everything is better in the Bluegrass.”
The daily flight departs Louisville at 7:24 a.m. EST and arrives in Los Angeles at 9:00 a.m. PST. The nonstop return flight departs LAX at 10:55 p.m. PST and arrives at SDF at 6:02 a.m. EST. The flight is four hours and 30 minutes, which is two hours faster than the fastest connecting option.
“This new nonstop flight between Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and Los Angeles is perfect for our great city. It is a wonderful way to cultivate opportunities for residents and businesses of Louisville and showcases our unique city to new clientele on the West Coast,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I congratulate our partners at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, the Louisville Regional Airlift Development, Inc., the Commonwealth of Kentucky and American Airlines. This is what our residents have been waiting for and I encourage everyone to support this exciting opportunity.”
The success of the flight, which is a result of cooperative efforts between the Airport Authority and the Louisville Regional Airlift Development, Inc., will open the door to other key cities, leading to additional economic benefits. And, in turn, allow travelers to take advantage of opportunities here in the local community.
“The Louisville Regional Airlift Development, Inc., or LRAD, was formed as a public-private partnership to focus exclusively on competing for new nonstop passenger air service at SDF,” said LRAD Chairman Koleman Karleski. “Our top priority was establishing first-ever, daily nonstop service to the West Coast, beginning with LAX. This morning’s inaugural flight to Los Angeles is a game-changer for the Louisville region, opening up countless new commerce opportunities for the region’s businesses. We’re proud of LRAD’s many civic and business partners and look forward to working with the Airport Authority to develop more exciting nonstop milestones for Louisville’s airport.”
The nonstop, transcontinental LAX flight builds upon Louisville’s success in attracting new direct flights. In the last year and a half, SDF has increased its nonstop flights by nearly 50 percent and 2018 showed the largest market growth rate in 25 years.
“We’re thrilled to bring nonstop Los Angeles service to Louisville and be the first airline to offer a nonstop flight to the West Coast for the community,” said Dale Morris, American Airlines Government Affairs Specialist. “This is a great market, a great community and an especially great airport to work with under the excellent leadership of Dan Mann; one of the most respected airport directors in our industry. Our capacity in Louisville has grown 20 percent in just one year, which is remarkable. When we look at the traffic growth at SDF and the vibrance of the community, LAX was the next logical move. We’re going to have eight nonstop destinations and 31 daily departures at SDF this summer. Louisville is important to American Airlines.”
With this announcement and in addition to Los Angeles, American Airlines offers daily nonstop service from Louisville to Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Miami, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.-Reagan. In addition, American Airlines recently upgraded aircraft at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to larger jets to serve the increased passenger traffic to Charlotte and Dallas.
The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is served by six airlines offering flights to more than 30 nonstop destinations including 19 of the region’s top 20 domestic markets. With just one stop, travelers from across the region can reach more than 460 destinations in the U.S. and worldwide.