Tweed starts Delta service

Delta Airlines officially announced Monday that it will be providing service to Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport starting May 27. Comair, a Delta connection carrier, will be providing three flights daily between Tweed and Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport on 40-seat Bombardier CRJ regional jets. From Cincinnati, passengers will have access to over 560 flights to more than 125 destinations.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said the expanded air service at Tweed would help increase the prosperity of the entire community.

“This is one more example of how New Haven has become a premiere American city. To grow as a hub of world class culture, education, biotechnology and new economy business, the world must be able to get here quickly,” he said in a press release.

Although Delta signed a letter of intent to come to Tweed in December, an official agreement was not reached until city businesses provided a $1.9 million revenue guarantee for the airline. The guarantee would help maintain Delta in the event it incurred operating losses in its first year at Tweed.

DeStefano said he was particularly pleased with local businesses and institutions for their strong commitment to bringing expanded air service to New Haven. He said the achievement was possible with the support of Yale President Richard Levin and the efforts of Vice President of Office of New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander, who spearheaded the fundraising for the guarantee.

Alexander said the expanded airport service is essential for attracting and maintaining jobs and businesses in New Haven. He added that the nation’s economy has been undergoing major changes, namely due to the substantial loss in manufacturing jobs over the past several years.

“This effort today is about the future prosperity of our community,” Alexander said. “A strong transportation infrastructure is an important ingredient for successful economic development.”

The main contributors to the guarantee for Delta were the Community Foundation for a Greater New Haven, the Knights of Columbus, the New Haven Savings Bank and Yale University. Other donors included Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Fleet Bank, United Illuminating Company, SBC, New Haven Register, WTNH-Channel 8 and Webster Bank.

The New Haven Board of Alderman also allocated $900,000 in December to keep Tweed in operation. DeStefano said although the Board decided to provide airport funding at a time when other cutbacks to city services were being made, investing in Tweed was a smart decision.

Delta/Comair spokesman Joe Coffman said the new service would significantly benefit the residents of New Haven. After also announcing that Delta would be offering service to Urbana-Champaign, Ill. and Traverse City, Mich., he said Delta was dedicated to “supporting the economic vitality of small and medium areas across the United States.”

Coffman said Delta came to New Haven because of the economic vibrancy of the city and the educational opportunities provided by Yale. New Haven has been recognized in the past as one of the most underserved markets in the airline industry.

“There’s no doubt about it that we will be very successful here,” he said.

Alexander said with Delta’s competitive pricing and its nationwide popularity, many New Haven area residents would find the service highly desirable.

“Delta’s got a huge network all across America — we expect a lot of people to take advantage of it,” he said.

Introductory one-way fares between Tweed and Cincinnati are priced at $106 based on a round-trip purchase.

Flights will leave Tweed at 6 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., and flights from Cincinnati will arrive at 1 p.m., 4:55 p.m. and 11 p.m. The approximate flight time from New Haven to Cincinnati is two hours.

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