CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jet-setters in the Kanawha Valley will soon be able to get to the City of Brotherly Love in just under two hours, once a new flight from Yeager Airport begins June 5.US Airways announced Thursday it will begin a direct flight between Charleston's Yeager Airport and Philadelphia International Airport which will fly daily once in each direction, except Saturdays.The flight will allow passengers in Charleston to connect with over 120 destinations from Philadelphia, a US Airways hub.Although US Airways and American Airlines are merging, the flight will initially begin as a US Airways service before switching to American, Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson said."It's always great news to have a new destination," he said.The airport also sent out a press release with prepared statements from Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper and Hoppy Shores, Yeager Airport Board President Ed Hill and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones in support of the new flight.Atkinson said Philadelphia's status as a large international airport would be particularly advantageous for local passengers."The flight schedule will work out with people wanting to make international connections," he said.
The Charleston-to-Philadelphia leg of the flight, US 4350, will depart at 1 p.m. and arrive in Philadelphia at 2:46 p.m.The flight from Philadelphia to Charleston, US 4351, will depart at 3:25 p.m. and arrive at Yeager at 5:13 p.m.While it will be a US Airways flight, the route will be operated by Piedmont Airlines using a Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop aircraft.The Philadelphia flights may be booked beginning this Saturday, March 8.Once the service begins in June, Yeager will have direct flights to three airports in the Northeast Corridor - the others being Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.The airport has 10 destinations total, including major hubs for all three major airline alliances - Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam. Atkinson said flights to those hubs give West Virginia great access to international flights, something important in a global economy."We are very fortunate to have great access through all three international alliances," he said.
US Airways and American Airlines are in the process of merging and passed a significant hurdle in November when both airlines reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general in six states and the District of Columbia, which sued in August to prevent the airlines from combining.Yeager Airport officials have been publicly supportive of the merger. Atkinson has said it will be beneficial for the airport.