Friday Marks Last Day For Two Delta Flights

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COLUMBIA - Delta Airlines will only offer one flight out of the Columbia Regional Airport starting Saturday. Friday marks the last day for two Delta flights servicing the airport. Delta will offer just one flight through February 13, with service ending on February 14. Delta decided to end its service after Columbia Regional Airport added American Airlines and offered a $3 million revenue guarantee. 

Delta had been offering flights to Memphis and Atlanta daily. They added the Atlanta flight in the summer to provide access to the "SEC country." It stopped its Memphis connection in November and has just been providing Atlanta flights. Delta was upset that the city did not inform them of the new contract with American and decided to end service the beginning of November. 

"We had approached them about going to other destinations. They said they had found out about it just in the newspaper, but I find that hard to believe," said Greg Cecil of the Airport Advisory Board. 

American's service begins February 14 and will offer flights to Chicago and Dallas, which Cecil said are two of the most requested destinations. Cecil believes it will help open opportunities to international markets, which will attract more business to Columbia.

"If we don't have a strong air service, we'll have just another community. Entrepreneurs want to get in and get out," said Cecil. 

Cecil also said American is very interested in pairing with the community. 

"They are meeting with university officials and business leaders and major users. Some of the things they have done is connecting with local restaurants to get American miles with dining bonuses," he said.

Cecil said within the next five years the airport will need runway updates and terminal renovations.