Hilton Head Island Airport confirmed Wednesday that Delta Air Lines will begin offering service between the airport and Atlanta starting May 23, and nonstop flights between the island and LaGuardia Airport in New York City on June 8.
Delta joins American Airlines and United Airlines in offering flights between the north-end airport and regional hub cities.
Jon Rembold, the county airports director, said the new airline will mean more competition and the possibility of cheaper fares for air passengers.
“Our goal is to provide the most convenient travel possible,” Rembold said at a Wednesday morning news conference. “We can bring residents, visitors and business travelers directly to Hilton Head Island.”
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The Island Packet reported Monday that users could book nonstop flights between Atlanta and the island Island, citing Delta website.
Starting May 23, Delta will run three daily flights on a 69-seat aircraft between Hilton Head and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
On June 8, Delta will begin Saturday-only flights between Hilton Head and LaGuardia.
Mayor John McCann said he was excited for the new flights and the economic opportunities they bring.
“Delta is back where it belongs,and we’re thrilled to have them here,” McCann said. “Delta being back here will be great for our economy.”
Delta stopped serving the Hilton Head Airport in 2010 after the company decided to stop flying turboprop engine aircraft, Rembold said.
“The runway extension is what brought them back,” Rembold said.
Hilton Head’s airport completed a runway expansion project in 2018. Lengthening the runway from 4,300 feet to 5,000 feet means larger jets can land there.
The project was the source of public concern about noise levels, tree removal in the area, lower property values and negative cultural and historical effects on nearby Mitchelville.
The airport completed a study in 2014 that responded to those concerns, which concluded that the longer runway would have no environmental impacts.
The addition of Delta to the airport’s air service means more travelers will be able to access Hilton Head directly as opposed to driving from the Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport.
Lori Lynah, director of marketing and air service development for that airport, said she’s not worried about competition.
“It’s not surprising,” Lynah said. “Once one (airline) comes, others typically follow.”