February 18, 2019 11:49:42 AM
Delta Air Lines will add a fourth round-trip flight out of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, a move that bucks recent trends and reflects the growth of the area's industries, said GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey.
Beginning on June 8, Delta will add a 1:15 p.m. departure to its 6:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. flights.
"Expansions into smaller airports has been almost non-existent in recent years," Hainsey said. "But we were able to convince Delta, because of our business climate, that there would be a great demand for an additional flight."
Hainsey said that 80 percent of GTRA's traffic is business-related.
"Our industries have been quietly expanding and that's creating demand," Hainsey said. "In our busy months we've been running 90 percent(occupancy). We believe the demand is there and thank Delta for making this move."
Mike Boyd, GTRA's airline consultant, said the timing was right for an additional flight.
"As industry continues to grow and bring people to our area, we will strive to provide them the service they deserve," Boyd said.
Hainsey said the 1:15 p.m. flight makes sense on a couple of levels.
"The main thing is all flights are scheduled in what are called banks, which means flights are scheduled to arrive and depart in waves," Hainsey said. "This flight matches up with one of those banks perfectly, with plenty of connections to other destinations.
"The other thing that I think is appealing about this flight is that it allows someone to work a half-day, then fly out or the other way around," he added. "Then, if there are maintenance problems with a flight, it offers some more flexibility for travelers."
The expansion is the first at GTRA in 15 years.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]
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