CHARLESTON, W. Va. — Dallas is no longer a connection or two away from Yeager Airport.
Airport officials joined state and local dignitaries Wednesday afternoon in celebrating the arrival of the first American Airlines non-stop flight from Dallas-Forth Worth Airport.
“Anytime that we can get an airline like American to give us a direct flight to a major hub like Dallas, that’s a major accomplishment — not only for quality of life, but also for economic development,” said Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy.
American Airlines will now operate one daily flight from DFW, its largest hub, to and from Yeager Airport.
Airport Director Rick Atkinson was on Wednesday’s first flight and he said it opens up new opportunities for Yeager travelers.
“It has connections all over the world and to domestic markets,” he said. “It gives more choice for international connections and domestic connections.”
With the pending merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways, Atkinson said even more opportunities will become available.
The flight on a 50-seat CRJ takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes.
Dallas resident Perry Cochell was on the first flight. He works with the Boys Scouts of America and said the new flight will save him time.
“I’ve been making flights for the last five years out here, circumnavigating the world, and now I have a direct route,” he said.
Gayle Meadows, from Milton, has all her family in Dallas and said she is happy to finally have a direct flight.
“I was always on a connection that would have been out of Atlanta or Charleston, S.C. I even flew into Houston that connected to Dallas, so this is really good,” she said.
In addition to benefiting leisure travelers, Atkinson said this is also great for businesses.
“Our business people need to be able to travel and people that are going to do business with us from all over the world need to be able to get here,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson also believes the new flight will help make it easier for college football fans to get to Big 12 Conference destinations.
Daily flights will arrive at Yeager around 4:30 p.m. with daily return flights leaving just after 5 p.m.