Delta Offers Flights Between Monterey, Salt Lake City

Delta Air Lines is coming to Monterey, offering daily flights to Salt Lake City.

Two flights to Utah -- at 6:20 a.m. and 1 p.m. -- will begin this summer from Monterey Peninsula Airport through Delta's carrier, Skywest Airlines.

The service is "fantastic news" for local travelers and visitors, said Tom Greer, the airport's general manager.

The flights costs just over $288, excluding taxes and fees. Flights to Salt Lake City from San Jose International Airport start around $180.

Monterey passengers will fly on 50-seat regional jets owned and operated by Skywest Airlines, a carrier for Delta as well as United Airlines.

The service is a first for Delta in Monterey, at least in recent history, and is the third addition for the airport in the past month. It also has announced daily flights beginning in June to Denver and Las Vegas.

The flights are part of the airport's effort to pull travelers away from the San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose International Airport, which the airport estimates has taken more than 80 percent of its market share.

Flights to Las Vegas and to hub airports in Denver and Salt Lake City should help the underutilized commercial airport, but will stay only if airlines see potential.

The airport already has applied for a $1 million grant toward local airport travel promotions and is designing marketing campaigns to attract local travelers, visitors and meeting planners.

"We really need to support the services," airport spokeswoman Jennifer Donat said. "If we don't, they (the airlines) will leave and won't come back."

Greer and other airport officials for the past year have pitched Monterey to airlines that were seeking to serve new cities. They also have proposed regional jet service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport through American Airlines.

Besides Delta, the Monterey airport is served by three regional air carriers, United Express, American Eagle and America West Express, with more than 20 daily flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Delta connects to 71 cities from Salt Lake City and offers daily flights to 503 destinations in 89 countries.

Passengers can book flights now. The airport said the offer begins July 31, a Sunday, but according to Delta's Web site, it will begin Aug. 1.

The airline also will offer a similar service beginning July 1 from Bakersfield.

"Customers traveling to, from or through Delta's hub in Salt Lake City can now take advantage of the only nonstop service to these two popular California vacation and business destinations," said Doug Blissit, vice president of network planning.

Blissit called Monterey and Bakersfield "unique destinations" that will help the airline "create the most effective connecting point for travel throughout the western United States."