Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to Richard Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Delta Airlines, urging the airline to bring back direct flights from Erie to Atlanta that were recently discontinued. The flights proved very popular and convenient for Northwestern Pennsylvania residents. Safe and reliable air travel plays a critical role in attracting businesses and visitors to Erie and the entire region. In his letter to Delta, Casey highlighted the continuing upgrades that have been made at Erie’s airport and the important role the flights can play in supporting the region’s economy.
“Northwestern Pennsylvania is an increasingly attractive destination for businesses and travelers. Maintaining reliable direct flights from Erie to destinations across the country is a critical part of maintaining that momentum,” Senator Casey said. “Erie has continued to make major efforts to upgrade its airport. I’m hopeful that Delta will reexamine this decision and bring back direct flights from Erie to Atlanta.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Mr. Anderson,
It is my understanding that Delta Air Lines has discontinued the seasonal flights between Erie, Pennsylvania and Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of this letter is to urge you to continue offering this flight connection on a permanent basis.
I have been advised that Delta currently only provides one flight service at the Erie International Airport (ERI), between Erie and Detroit, Michigan. As you are aware, Delta has previously offered consistent Erie-Atlanta service in the past. It is my understanding that these flights to Atlanta were very popular and extremely convenient for Erie travelers engaging in trips for business and leisure purposes. For many passengers, this direct connection helped to save significant hours of travel time.
The airport is also served by other airlines, such as US Airways and United, offering daily flights to and from Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively. According to the airport, flights to these major metropolitan cities are consistently filled over 90 percent capacity, which is indicative of the demand and need for major route options. I have also been informed that ERI has maintained strong numbers and percentages of seats filled since summer 2014.
To date, ERI has been making the necessary investments to increase capacity and improve operations. Last year, ERI extended the main runway in an $82 million capital project to accommodate future growth. The airport has been working diligently to meet the demands of its patrons to add more convenient destinations. Decreasing fuel costs coupled with the airport’s investment projects provide a healthy environment for airline carriers to add flights and more practical destinations.
I welcome continued dialogue about the value of the Erie-Atlanta service and urge you to reinstate this flight at the Erie International Airport. If there is any way that I can be of assistance to reinstate these flights, please feel free to contact me directly. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office directly. Thank you for your consideration of my views.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator