Cabinet for Economic Development

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 14, 2007  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

Governor Fletcher ‘has set his sights on making Kentucky an aviation leader’


FRANKFORT, Ky. Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Executive Cabinet secretary, Robbie Rudolph, and Cabinet for Economic Development officials today joined in an announcement that Compass Airlines will build an aircraft hangar and maintenance center at Louisville International Airport.  The project will create up to 70 full-time jobs with an annual payroll in excess of $3 million.


“Governor Fletcher has set his sights on making Kentucky a leader in aviation.  Today’s announcement by Compass Airlines is a big step toward that goal,” Rudolph said.  “The Compass maintenance facility is yet another indicator of the vibrant growth of Louisville and Jefferson County.  We are pleased Compass has chosen this great community and look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.”


Compass Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines, operates regional jet aircraft under the Northwest Airlink banner.  Compass began service May 2 with twice-daily round trip flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Dulles International Airport, in Washington, D.C. Compass currently serves four cities with state-of-the-art Embraer E-175 aircraft.  The E-175, which provides best-in-class cabin comfort, offers dual class service for 76 passengers.  Compass expects to operate 36 of the aircraft by the end of 2008. 


“Today’s announcement is the first step in the completion of another major milestone for Compass Airlines,” said Compass Airlines President John Bendoraitis.  “The Louisville maintenance facility will provide Compass with the solid foundation needed to ensure a successful future, and we are excited to become a larger part of this great community.” 


Compass will build a $9.85 million, three-bay aircraft maintenance facility on 4.8 acres along Crittenden Drive.  In addition, a 53,000-square-foot hangar with support shops, parts storage and offices will service up to three E-175s per night.  Completion of the project is expected by fall 2008.


“The Compass maintenance facility is yet another example of the continued success story and economic payoff that has resulted from the foresight of our community’s leaders when they initiated the airport expansion project,” said J.D. Nichols, chairman of the Louisville Airport Authority Board.


Compass Airlines will provide service between Northwest Airlines hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Memphis and cities throughout the United States and Canada.  The Louisville expansion will allow the company to maintain its focus on safe and reliable air transportation and great customer service.


“This is a great announcement for our city,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said.  Louisville was founded as a transportation hub because of the Ohio River. We continue to be a transportation hub of the 21st century because of the airport. Compass Airlines joins a growing list of companies who have discovered that Louisville is a great place to do business.” 

“We congratulate Northwest Airlines on the launch of Compass and are delighted that Louisville has been chosen as the location for this maintenance hub. Direct flights are a critical component of a vibrant economy, and business leaders will appreciate the additional flights Compass will offer,” said Joe Reagan, president and chief executive officer of Greater Louisville Inc. – The Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We welcome them to our community, and we look forward to seeing Compass' jets at Louisville International Airport.”  

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Compass Airlines for tax benefits up to $2 million under the Kentucky Jobs Development Act, an incentive program designed to attract and expand technology- and service-related industries.


A community profile for Jefferson County can be found at:



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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2006 totaled more than $3.4 billion with the creation of over 18,500 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at