Demand causes airline to increase seating capacity on route

Last updated: March 04. 2014 11:11PM - 3531 Views
By Andrew M. Seder aseder@civitasmedia.com

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PITTSTON TWP. —Delta Air Lines will be using an Airbus A319 for its daily flight from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport starting May 2.

But by June, the Airbus will be off the schedule and in its place will be a 90-seat, two-class regional jet.

The 6:10 a.m. daily flight now takes passengers south on a 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet 700, but airport Director Barry Centini said those flights have been full and the airline decided to increase load capacity by employing larger aircraft.

Why the Airbus will only be brought in for one month was a question that Centini couldn’t answer, but he said he’s happy that once it’s gone the airline isn’t going back to the 50-seat regional jet.

“The Atlanta flight is one of our best flights out of here,” Centini said, noting that on average they’re 90 percent full or better.

As of June 1, Delta will reduce its seats by scrapping the 126-seat Airbus and using a 90-seat regional jet.

A look at the Delta website shows ticket prices for a May 2 flight at $388 for an economy seat and $672 for a first-class seat. Those are the same prices that appear in a search for an April 4 flight on a Canadair Regional Jet 700.

A search for a flight on June 6, when Delta will use a Bombardier Regional Jet 900, shows tickets at $454 and $692 for economy and first class respectively.

Delta will continue to have a flight from Atlanta arriving at 10:51 p.m. daily with the same type of planes flying out of Avoca that morning.

The Atlanta airport is a Delta hub and has connecting flights to other U.S. airports and international destinations.

Connecting flights to domestic cities not currently served out of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton include Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas.

Newark cancellations

While Delta is providing positive news, United says it is scrapping all flights from the local airport to Newark International Airport in April and May because of a runway construction project in Newark.

United has been flying two daily flights from Avoca to Newark and two the other direction and will continue to do so through March on a 37-seat Bombardier Q200 plane. Flights will resume in June.

Federal grant

Centini said the $575,000 federal Small Community Air Service Development grant that the airport was awarded to encourage airlines to add flights to business and leisure destinations has not led to any new flights just yet, but he’s working on it.

Among the cities being targeted are Myrtle Beach, S.C., Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as leisure destinations. For business travelers, Pittsburgh and Washington are the target destinations.

Centini said he’s not placing one destination above any others and hopes to be able to land one or more destinations this year.

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