Delta to upgrade service to Atlanta

Carrier will operate Boeing 717 110-seat from Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Delta Air Lines will operate a 110-seat Boeing 717 airliner between Cedar Rapids and Atlanta on daily flights beginning Oct. 4. The service will bring “mainline” service operated by a major airline back to The Eastern Iowa Airport.

“It will be morning-originating flight and then come back in the evening for the aircraft to spend the night in Cedar Rapids,” Airport Director Marty Lenss said. “That two-a-day pattern will continue through the fall and winter. We are optimistic that we will get back to our seasonal three-a-day service during the summer.”

The Delta flights will be the first mainline service to the Cedar Rapids airport since 2005 when United Airlines transitioned to regional partners providing air service.

The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday ratified an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation that will provide up to $25,000 to market the new Delta flights. The airport will be required to match the IDOT Air Service Development Program funding.

Delta Connections carriers primarily have been using 65-seat regional jets for flights between Cedar Rapids and Atlanta. Lenss said the larger Boeing 717s will increase the number of available seats by 480 each week, offer more first-class seating and larger overhead bins for carry-on luggage.

“It’s a great investment by Delta in the Corridor,” Lenss said. “We will need to fill those seats, but the market has been performing well for Delta. That’s why they are making this additional investment.”

The Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport competes with Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C., Lenss said. American Airlines announced plans in July to offer two daily, nonstop flights from Cedar Rapids to Charlotte beginning Nov. 4.

Both airports offer hundreds of connecting flights to North American and international destinations.

“I haven’t had any conversations with American or Delta, but it certainly looks like a competitive response,” Lenss said.

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