Hickory Regional Airport Prepares for Delta's Arrival

With commercial air service set to start operating from Hickory in less than two weeks, the airport is making final preparations for takeoff.Workers at the Hickory Regional Airport are working on a number of improvements -- from expanding security services to improving runway surfaces -- in preparation for the arrival of Delta Air Lines, which starts service May 1.

The Delta flights -- three a day on Delta Connection to Atlanta -- will bring commercial air service to the Catawba Valley for the first time in more than three years.

Hickory lost commercial flights in April 2002, when US Airways left as part of post-Sept. 11 cutbacks.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines will operate the Delta flights on regional jets that will seat 40 to 50 people, officials have said.

To prepare, airport workers, in conjunction with the Transportation Safety Administration, are working to beef up the airport's security services, said Airport Manager Tim Deike.