A quick chat with Cape Air’s Kim Corkran.
N MAGAZINE: When did you first touch down on Nantucket?
CORKRAN: I first arrived on island in the summer of 1974 for a seasonal job at the Harbor House as front desk clerk. I moved to the island full-time in 1980 and spent twenty- three wonderful years as a year-round resident. I am currently splitting time between Nantucket and the eastern shore of Maryland.
N MAGAZINE: When did you start working with Cape Air?
CORKRAN: I have worked for Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines for the past twenty-one years and have been very fortunate to travel to many of our destinations. It has also provided me with the chance to interface with our customers who come from all over the world. I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities I have been given — not to mention the travel perks!
N MAGAZINE: Have you taken any particularly memorable Cape Air trips?
CORKRAN: I was fortunate enough to sit and chat with Sir Richard Branson at his home on Necker Island because Cape Air was sponsoring an event in the BVIs. I can’t think of another job I might have had that would have given me that opportunity. Talk about feeling worldly.
N MAGAZINE: Speaking of feeling worldly, it may surprise people that Cape Air has routes all over the globe. It is our understanding that these routes are subsidized. It sounds like a great business model; is Cape Air the only one that does that?
CORKRAN: Cape Air is one of many airlines that serve within the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. Routes within this program are competitively bid and protect air service to many small communities that may have lost service altogether after the airline deregulation in 1978. It is interesting to note that Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are also protected by the EAS program, but because service to these islands has been profitable, there is no support from the EAS program necessary.
N MAGAZINE: Do you think that the closure of Island Air indicates that it is not possible to make the Hyannis-to-Nantucket route profitable?
CORKRAN: The multiple ferry services along with increased operating costs present challenges. We recognize the need for that quick flight to Hyannis and we are committed to continuing the Nantucket Airlines side of our operation so that we can provide a reliable and convenient alternative and will continually adjust to the challenges presented.
N MAGAZINE: The island would be thrilled if Cape Air increased its flights to the island, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Why not?
CORKRAN: Regional airlines are all suffering from a pilot shortage, which can be attributed to many factors. Suffice it to say, we are doing our best to maintain quality air service in all our communities with the pilots and equipment we have. We are actively engaged with Jet Blue and others in the industry to address these shortages. We are also reaching out to what we fondly call our “Gray Gulls,” pilots who have retired but may want to be on call or pick up a leg here and there. Many other steps are being taken, but if you know a pilot who may want to fly with us, by all means have them contact us. Linda Markham, our President, and her team are working tirelessly on this challenge.
N MAGAZINE: Have you ever thought about becoming a pilot yourself?
CORKRAN: I love to fly, but with someone else piloting.
N MAGAZINE: If you were in charge of putting together a time capsule so that people could understand Nantucket a hundred years from now, what five items would you put into it?
CORKRAN: Of course N Magazine! A copy of the NHA video by Ric Burns, an aerial photograph (as I am sure the topography will have changed in a hundred years), an essay written by a Nantucket student of what Nantucket means to them, and last but not least our book celebrating twenty-five years of Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines.
N MAGAZINE: What’s your fondest Nantucket memory?
CORKRAN: Seeing the island from the air and realizing that this small spit of land holds so much history and beauty, yet is a thriving community that embraces the small town feel and welcomes our many visitors so that they too can feel the magic. Once on land, I cherish the friendships made and feel so fortunate to be connected to such a wonderful place.
N MAGAZINE: Imagine you had to get out of Dodge… Where would you buy a one-way ticket?
CORKRAN: To my roots… on the eastern shore of Maryland. Of course, I would never feel I needed to get out of Dodge, which in this case is Nantucket. Who would want a one-way ticket out? Not me! The sand has gotten between my toes and I have thrown too many pennies overboard rounding Brant Point to ever think of leaving.