CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- American Airlines will offer nonstop jet service between Charleston's Yeager Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, starting June 12, the airline announced Wednesday.Brian Belcher, Yeager's director of marketing, said the new flights will give the Boy Scouts of America -- which is headquartered in Irving, near the Texas airport -- better access to West Virginia.The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserves in Fayette County will host the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in July. The 10-day summer event is expected to bring more than 40,000 Scouts and another 200,000 tourists to the area.The nonstop flight from Charleston to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is about two hours and fifteen minutes long, Belcher said."We are very excited and we spoke to [Boy Scouts officials] and they're very excited about it," Belcher said. "They've been using Yeager, but now they don't have to connect anywhere. That's a big plus for them and for us."American Airlines will offer a daily flight from Dallas to Charleston that will leave at 1:05 p.m. and arrives in Charleston at 4:30 p.m. The return flight will leave Yeager Airport at 5 p.m. and arrive in Dallas at 6:30 p.m. Passengers will travel on a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft.The flights will be provided by American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines.Belcher said the Dallas airport is a "great" international connecting hub that gives fliers more options."For an airport and city our size, we have a higher than normal amount of international passengers with the Toyota plant and other Japanese-owned businesses and European businesses here," Belcher said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a news release that the direct service from Charleston to Dallas/Fort Worth International is a wonderful opportunity for both states."In addition to providing quick and easy travel for business trips, direct service will offer travelers an opportunity to experience the things that make each of our states great," Tomblin said.The new service to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport provides passengers with another option when traveling to the West Coast and gives travelers in Texas better access to the Mountain State, Belcher said."They can get on a nonstop flight to get here easier and take advantage of our white water rafting and skiing. We hope our tourism industry will see the benefit," Belcher said. "For West Virginia University sports, it allows fans to get into the Dallas area since almost all of the teams the Mountaineers play you can connect at that hub in Dallas."On March 2, Delta Air Lines' mainline service started flying its first-class 120-passenger DC-9 planes between Charleston and Atlanta. Delta is the only airline at Yeager that offers first-class seating to passengers.Belcher said those flights are filling up and the first-class option has so far been a success.
"It's going very well. I was talking to their manager an hour ago and he says that the whole flight is sold out the next two days and the first-class is selling really well," Belcher said. "Hopefully that will make it successful and encourage them to bring even bigger planes here."Reach Megan Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org