Delta Adds Atlanta to Maine Flight

Delta Air Lines Inc. will add a nonstop flight service to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, becoming the third destination the company will fly into from Bangor International Airport.

Delta's service from BIA to Atlanta will operate year-round, beginning June 8, seating 70 passengers in a Canadair Regional Jet 700.

Despite Delta's added service, Rebecca Hupp, director of BIA, said she didn't anticipate the extra flight would create jobs.

"For consumers this means more choices, better connections, and probably shorter travel times overall," Hupp said.

Delta flights leaving the Bangor airport can now touch down in its newest destination, Atlanta, in addition to Cincinnati and Boston.

In June 2003 BIA initially pitched Atlanta as a nonstop destination to Delta, and followed up with the company on a regular basis, the airport director said. BIA gave a financial presentation in June 2005 explaining Bangor's market potential, overall economy and the region's ability to attract tourism, among other things.

"This flight is a wonderful complement to our existing service and will enhance the travel choices for people wanting to fly in and out of the Bangor region," Bob Cortelyou, Delta's vice president of network planning said in a press release Friday.

Hupp agrees, saying the additional hub creates more options for people traveling to and from Bangor.

"Bangor serves as a gateway to Down East and coastal Maine," the airport director said. "Flights were full in the summer, and people who wanted to come couldn't. They either had to fly into another airport or drive, so hopefully more tourists will be coming into the state and region."

The airport has sought a hub in Atlanta for some time, according to City Manager Ed Barrett, and this new addition will open highly traveled routes to the southeastern United States and carry passengers to one of its primary destinations, Orlando, Fla.

"This [additional hub] shows that airlines feel that they can operate effectively out of our airport," Barrett said.

This past September, Delta cut a quarter of its flights into Cincinnati because of the company's debt and the declining airline industry.

None of the four Delta flights that leave Bangor each day were affected by the cutbacks, but Hupp did say the company reduced its capacity over the winter months. The airport director said capacity should return to normal for the summer months.

"Delta shared with us that Bangor is one of its better markets; it is the major carrier here," Hupp said.

BIA is home to five domestic airline carriers, Northwest Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, U.S. Airways and Continental Airlines, which fly into Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, and seasonally to Minneapolis.

Tickets already are available online for flights from BIA to Atlanta. The service will begin June 8.

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