Passengers Increase, But Service Gets Cut

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Airport saw more commercial traffic in 2011 than at any time in the past decade, but those increasing numbers weren't enough to keep Delta Airlines from cutting midday service from the airport through February.

As of November 2011, 35,785 people boarded planes at Columbia Regional, more than the 2010 total of 35,428.

Delta Airlines cut flights to save money and recently cut 25 percent of its flights in Memphis -- the only commericial destination to or from Columbia.

"That's bad news for Columbia because Delta is leading the charge in discontinuing the 50-passenger regional jets," said Greg Cecil, chair of Columbia's Airport Advisory Committee.

50-passenger regional jets are the only planes Delta flies into Columbia Regional.

That could change in 2012 if Columbia is successful in attracting another airline with added destinations. Cecil and McDavid are cautiously optimistic about that possibility.

"We've made some contacts," said McDavid. "A couple of flights a day to Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas...all of those cities would be perfect destinations out of Columbia."