Flights from Gulfport-Biloxi to Lakeland to begin June 15

Travelers to and from the Mississippi Coast soon can enjoy direct service between Gulfport and Lakeland, Fla., located between Orlando and Tampa. Airport officials announced Wednesday that Direct Air will be offering low-cost nonstop flights from the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport to the Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland starting June 15.It’s key for us, said Jeremiah Gerald, director of air service and business development at the Gulfport airport.We’re pulling customers from both the Orlando metro area and also the Tampa (metro area). Those are two key tourism markets for us that we don’t have access to today on a nonstop, low-cost level.

The 90-minute flight service will be offered on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Gerald said the Myrtle Beach-based airline once offered three-day-a-week direct service from Gulfport to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a few months in 2007, when it was named Myrtle Beach Direct Air.That was before they changed the name to Direct Air and started expanding in Myrtle Beach, he said.Gerald said he believes the return of the Direct Air flight service will be a boost to the local economy, bringing in tourists from Florida to spend their time and disposable income in South Mississippi.This is definitely going to have an effect on gaming revenues. It’s going to have an effect on the economy in general, he said. And the timing is perfect, right at the beginning of summer.

Year after year, Gulfport is consistently a top leisure destination for people from central and west Florida looking for a quick getaway, Kay Ellison, managing partner of Direct Air, said in a news release.Direct Air is now offering a $99 promotional fare on one-way flights between Gulfport and Lakeland that are booked through Feb. 22.

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