Airline adds new service for area

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2000

Delta Airlines was expected to begin thrice-daily service from Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.

Thursday, March 02, 2000

Delta Airlines was expected to begin thrice-daily service from Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va., to Atlanta, Ga., on Thursday today.

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Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), Delta will operate three round trip flights each day between the two cities, allowing Tri-State to offer more options to business and tourist travelers, airport marketing director Beckie McKinley said.

"We had targeted Delta as a carrier of choice just because of its tie to Atlanta," Ms. McKinley said. "You can get a flight virtually anywhere in the world there."

The ASA addition comes just four months after Comair stopped service from Huntington to the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, which concerned travelers because they had to rely only on flights to Charlotte, N.C., or Pittsburgh, Pa.

"If I was on a major carrier, it was convenient if I could stop in Cincinnati and get a Delta flight home," said Lawrence County commissioner Bruce Trent.

Trent used to make frequent commercial flights when he worked for the organ donor program.

"What this will mean for Lawrence County is quicker access to a flight and a hub (Atlanta) from where you have a choice of other flights," he said.

Instead of driving to Cincinnati, Columbus or Lexington, Ky., county residents will only have to drive a few miles across the river, which will save time, Trent added.

"And time is money," he said.

The new ASA service was expected to begin Thursday with a noon flight arrival at Tri-State and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ms. McKinley said.

ASA will operate the service with 30-passenger propeller-driven airplanes.

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, announced several months ago that Delta Airlines would add service to Tri-State following the departure of Comair from Tri-State.

Earlier, Rockefeller had convened a meeting of Huntington-area community leaders and Delta executives to discuss the new ASA service to the area.

Rockefeller said he had pushed Delta to make the move because Huntington needed another airline to serve the more than 400,000 people living in the Tri-State who had access to only one major airline locally.

Delta’s ASA service now will mean more travel options for potential passengers. And, for Delta, it will mean access to a market that is underserved, he said.