Delta Airlines discontinued its service at Columbia Regional Airport today, while American Airlines will launch its daily non-stop flights to Chicago and Dallas tomorrow.
Columbia Regional Airport now will have one round-trip flight to Chicago and two round-trip flights to Dallas daily. Direct flights from Columbia to Atlanta stop with the end of Delta's local service. Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes says Delta’s exit shows the dynamic, fragile and fast-paced nature of the air service business.
"Let me say, Delta was a great partner. They did a lot for this region, and we are sad to see them go," Matthes says. "But, that said, they made the decision to leave. And we are very excited about having Chicago and Dallas. That has always been our goal. We never thought about Atlanta.”
Mike Brooks is the president of Regional Economic Development Incorporated. He says the new addition with American Airlines is very attractive to the local community, and Columbia Regional Airport has some advantages compared with nearby airports.
"Quite honestly, if you are on the border of whether you go to St. Louis or Columbia, free parking at Columbia can be a real asset," Brooks says.
The daily flight to Chicago O’Hare Airport will depart Columbia at 1:55 in the afternoon, with the return flight arriving back in Columbia at 5:10 p.m. There also will be two daily round-trip flights to Dallas-Forth Worth Airport, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.