Daily flight to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

For the first time in three years, the region’s travelers will have access to a daily nonstop flight to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.The single daily Delta Connections flight will resume Sept. 7. It will depart at 5:35 p.m. and arrive in Atlanta at 7:55.Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Director Barry Centini announced the addition at the bicounty airport board’s meeting Thursday.Resumption of the flight to Hartsfield – an international hub for Delta and the busiest airport in the world – has been a priority for the airport, Mr. Centini said. With the connection to Atlanta, those departing locally will have access to 1,011 daily flights.

Comair/Delta Connection operated nonstop flights to Hartsfield Atlanta International from May 2002, just as air travel was stabilizing after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Delta cut back in the wake of its merger with Northwest Airlines and eventually ended that flight in August 2009, citing declining performance of the route. Airport officials disputed that claim then, saying the flight was nearly always full.Delta will continue to provide three flights to its other hub, Detroit Metropolitan-Wayne County Airport, after the daily Atlanta flights begin, Mr. Centini said. Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines will operate the new flight using a 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet.Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said the route addition is part of Delta’s fall schedule adjustment.

Every year, we look into opportunities,he said. “We looked into that market and saw a demand that we didn’t have in the past.In other news for the airport, passenger enplanements continued to surge in May, with 21,145 passengers getting on board, 20 percent more than May 2010. Year-to-date enplanements are up 12 percent. The dramatic turnabout is because of traffic related the Marcellus Shale drilling, airport officials said.Overnight parking at the airport also has surged, generating additional revenue for the airport and forcing officials to consider expanded parking. Combined, the growth of parking and enplanements are putting the airport on track for a profitable year. Year-to-date income through the May was $137,176, compared to 2010 loss for the comparable period of $221,997.

Also at the airport board meeting Thursday, the board tentatively approved a contract to replace the roof on two hangars and an office building the airport leases to a private firm. The board awarded the contract to the low bidder, ERX Roofing Services of Tamaqua, which offered to do the work for $158,000. The board received three bids, the highest of which was $193,394. The award to ERX is conditional upon airport’s staff review of the details bid.

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