11/05/06 — Delta to end operations at Kinston Jetport in January

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Delta to end operations at Kinston Jetport in January

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on November 5, 2006 10:31 AM

KINSTON -- Delta Airlines announced Friday the company will end its service to and from the Kinston Regional Jetport in 2007.

The airline giant had initiated passenger flights to the airport more than a year ago, but officials said that once the company raised rates to make them competitive with other markets, such as Raleigh-Durham, profitability slipped.

Flights will end Jan. 6.

Customers with flights scheduled after that will be accommodated by flights out of the Raleigh-Durham hub, Delta officials said.

The decision was based on business needs and should not reflect on the local economic climate or its support of the airline, Delta officials said. The company filed for bankruptcy a year ago and has reorganized.

Lenoir County officials said the decision came as a blow, but one that could be absorbed. Kinston's airport has lost passenger airline service before and the airport survived, they said.

The move will leave Kinston with only one passenger carrier, Allegiant Air, which offers flights to Orlando, Fla.

Delta had offered flights twice a day to and from Atlanta. It had operated three flights a day until about a year ago.

The airline's Kinston site was carrying 75 to 85 percent capacity on flights, said Lenoir economic developer Mark Pope on Saturday. But the corporation's economic problems led officials to make some hard decisions, he said.

"I hate it, but it was just business," Pope said Saturday. "They made some very positive comments. We will just have to move on. That's business."

He said Lenoir economic development officials will look for another carrier to help serve the region.

Delta opened its service at the Kinston Jetport in April 2005. Kinston had not had passenger air service since 2002, when U.S. Airways ceased operations there.

Lenoir County officials had helped lure Delta with $200,000 in marketing money.

At the same time it announced it was shutting down its Kinston operation, Delta announced it would begin flights out of the Jacksonville airport in December.