Letter: Effort should go to bring flights to local airport

Dec. 11, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

Editor,

Excuse me!  Just read your editorial, "Cheap Flights to the Smokies?"  I definitely agree that Sevier County can benefit from Knoxville having less expensive flights but, why just through Knoxville?

Knoxville has had several less expensive flights but for various reasons tend to lose those carriers.   Competition and pressure from existing carriers or docking fees, who knows?   We can do better than align ourselves with Knox County.  

How nice it would be to board American Airlines, U.S. Air, United,  Air Tran or Allegiant from the Sevierville Airport? We overhear passengers commenting, while circling and landing,  on how beautiful Knoxville is, how lovely are all the Loudon Lakes, etc.  I love flying to Charlotte as the flight pattern allows  a birds eye view of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. I sit eagerly, waiting impatiently from my aerial position of beloved Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I get goosebumps. What a nice analogy for advertisers.

Let's wake up. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Kodak and Pittman Center are the entry doors to the Smokies or lie immediately adjacent to  the Smokies.  Let's put our monies together and work toward this end.  Let's, we Sevier Countians,  form our own relationship with air carriers.  What a new  advertising campaign thrust, one which is  dynamic, energetic and promises profits, is available to Sevier County. It's a new door which beckons to be open.

Years ago, while operating  one of our retail shops on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, we had the pleasure of a relationship with customers from Birmingham.  The couple loved snow.  The husband adored his beautiful  wife and wanted her to see and be able to enjoy The Great Smoky Mountains and the sensuality of snow falling on one's face and lips as they walked blissfully through Gatlinburg.  They loved the "hiss" of wet logs dusted with snow  being  tossed into a roaring fire.  The ambiance and closeness of a beautiful tourist city, vibrant, alive, bustling yet hushed with layers of snow. 

To make a long story short, the moment weather reports predicted snow, or  if we saw a snowflake, we phoned them immediately.  The couple  donned their furs, boarded their private airplane and flew directly into Sevierville Airport. 

Combining our talents/monies with Knoxville for more conducive fares is fine but why not research the idea of bringing tourists directly into Sevierville, depositing tourists at Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville doors.  We have a beautiful airport, wonderful cabins, motels and hotel accommodations; delicious restaurants, wonderful shops and entertainment which are feasible 12 months our of the year, why split our monies with Knoxville?A local airport directed at the tourist trade ups the ante, brings in well-heeled groups/conventions/families  and carries a connotation of prestige and certainly sets one apart.  Wow!  An advertisers' dream. 

Linda Morton Norton

Gatlinburg