12/10/04 — Delta deal will boost region, says GTP director

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Delta deal will boost region, says GTP director

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on December 10, 2004 2:01 PM

KINSTON -- The addition of jet service between Kinston and Atlanta will help make the N.C. Global TransPark more attractive to prospective tenants, an official says.

GTP Executive Director Darlene Waddell said the Delta passenger service scheduled to start April 1 will increase exposure for the TransPark.

"It is a catapult for us," she said. "I look for only positive things to happen from now on."

Initial plans are for three incoming and three outgoing flights daily from the GTP/Kinston Regional Jetport. The jets will carry up to 40 passengers operated by Delta Connection's Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

Delta is offering special introductory fares for customers traveling to or from Kinston. These one-way fares are based on a round-trip purchase.

The one-way fares are: between Kinston and Atlanta -- $64; to New Orleans -- $64; to New York City-- $84; to Cincinnati -- $89; to Las Vegas -- $89; and to Seattle -- $124.

The fares for the other cities are based changing flights in Atlanta.

Flight departure times to Atlanta will be as follows:

*6:30 a.m. and arriving in Atlanta at 8 a.m.

*11 a.m. and arriving at 12:30 p.m.

*5:40 p.m. and arriving at 7:10 p.m.

Return flights to Kinston:

*Leaving Atlanta at 9 a.m. and arriving in Kinston at 10:28 a.m.

*3:45 p.m. and arriving at 5:07 p.m.

*8:15 p.m. and arriving at 9:39 p.m.

It has been a four-year process to get jet service back to Kinston, according to John Marshall, co-chairman of the Committee of 100's Air Service Committee. He said the committee has spoken to many airlines since U.S. Airways ceased operations there, he said.

In 2002, consultants told the committee to work on getting service again, and discussions with six other airlines ensued. They began talking with Delta in the spring of 2002. The argument was that eastern North Carolina did not have good air service and Kinston was a logical place for it, said Marshall.

There are more than 1 million people living within a 60-mile area of the airport, and that is what ultimately convinced them, he said.

The Committee of 100 has agreed to provide up to $200,000 to be used by Delta Airlines for marketing and related costs associated with the new jet service. The committee is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to help economic development in Lenoir County.

Marshall said the money was an incentive for Delta to come, and it will be paid directly to whoever is doing the advertising work for the company.

He said that any company wanting to locate in a community wants to know what kind of air service is available. Now instead of driving to Raleigh and having to arrive early for a flight and paying to park, people can have a shorter drive and park for free.

Ms. Waddell said that the GTP has no current plans to hire more employees with the new jet service, but it is not out of the picture.

Having jet service in Kinston will also be an asset for recruiting businesses in Wayne County, said Joanna Thompson, president of the Wayne County Economic Development Commission.

She said many clients ask about the proximity to a commercial airport, and currently the commission lists Raleigh-Durham International as the closest. The new service will give clients another option and reduce their travel time to Wayne County, she said. "I think it is going to be great for existing industry and our recruitment efforts."

Delta will also introduced service between Atlanta and Hickory and add flights between RDU and New Orleans and increase the number of flights between RDU and Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

The aircraft flying out of Kinston is a Bombardier CRJ200, which has a maximum cruise speed of about 534 mph.