The Regional Approach to Competitive Airfare

A regional partnership has been formed to enhance low-fare air service to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley region. 

The Competitive Airfare Partnership, which currently includes the City of Knoxville, Blount County, Knox County, Innovation Valley, Visit Knoxville and the Knoxville Chamber, is a public/private initiative with a fundraising goal of $3 million. To date, $2 million has been committed to the initiative. These funds will not only assist in recruitment efforts but also in developing a long term communication strategy to garner support from the business community for low fare service.

The Partnership


  • A public/private initiative that currently includes the City of Knoxville, Blount County, Knox County, Innovation Valley, Visit Knoxville and the Knoxville Chamber.
  • Target fundraising goal: $3 million with approximately $2 million in commitments to date.
  • First time a regional partnership approach has been taken to recruit low fare carriers to McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) - public sector, private sector, tourism sector and airport.
  • Lower the fares by enhancing low fare service at TYS. Regional initiatives like this have been successful in other markets in the United States.
  • Long-term communication strategy to remind the business community about the importance of supporting low fare carriers that serve TYS.

Situated For Success

  • The Knoxville region has the population and tourism volume to support and sustain increased low fare service at TYS.
  • Low fares have proven to stimulate growth in our region and directly impact the bottom line for both business and leisure travelers.
  • Knoxville's peer markets, such as Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina have recently aquired low fare carriers like JetBlue and Southwest using a regional approach like CAP.

Market Research

  • Recent Passenger leakage studies show that approximately 20 percent of Knoxville-area travelers are using other airports for their boarding points.
  • Based on 2012 passenger levels for Knoxville, that 20 percent represents 310,000 additional passengers or 425 departing passengers per day.
  • Lower fares will stimulate the market by 10 to 20 percent providing another 200-400 passengers each day.


  • Economic development as it relates to business recruitment.
  • Growing the market of visitors to Knoxville region from other parts of the country.
  • Lowering of overall air fares for travel from TYS.

To learn more about the Competitive Airfare Partnership, click below.