JEFFERSON COUNTY - by Scott Lawrence - KFDM News has confirmed American Airlines will begin jet service early next year between Jefferson County and Dallas.
American announced Wednesday a number of new national and international routes, including service beginning February 14 between Jefferson County and D-FW Airport in Dallas.
"I think it's great news," said Jim Rich, the President of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, during a telephone conversation Wednesday morning with KFDM News. "How the area came together to support it. It's a great story."
Rich told KFDM News it's his understanding American will initially offer a total of four flights a day on 50 seat passenger jets.
A news conference is scheduled Thursday morning at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport with a representative of American Airlines.
Jefferson County lost its only commercial airline service at the end of June when Continental Airlines stopped flying to Houston.
County leaders including County Judge Jeff Branick began talking with American Airlines and working with city and county governments and companies to build a revenue guarantee of $1.5 million to $2 million to lure American to the area. They were able to raise the $1.5 million.
"We need a connection to the world and now we have it," Rich told KFDM News. "We can stop driving to Houston to fly to Dallas. No offense to Houston."
Rich says you can go online and buy a ticket now for a flight to Dallas or from Dallas to Jefferson County.
"We hope people won't just fly to Dallas, but will fly to other locations, including Europe, from Dallas. All of our companies with international ties, they can fly here directly through Dallas."
Rich says the cost will be slightly above what it would cost for flights from Houston to Dallas.
"But when you look at parking and other factors it should be competitive," said Rich. "Based on their record it should be reliable. And they've settled their labor issues."
DALLAS (AP) - American Airlines says it will start new international routes next year, seeking to capitalize on growth in international travel, especially among high-fare corporate travelers.
Fort Worth-based American, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, said Wednesday that the new flights were part of its plan to increase international service to its five major U.S. hubs.
American, which is owned by AMR Corp., says it will begin selling tickets for the new flights on Nov. 4.
The new international routes:
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Lima, Peru, beginning April 2. American already flies between Miami and Lima.
- DFW to Seoul, beginning May 9.
- Chicago to Dusseldorf, Germany, starting April 11.
- New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Dublin, starting June 12.
American will also add domestic flights using regional jets that are smaller than the planes typically operated by American. Those routes, starting Feb. 14, will include:
- DFW and Chicago's O'Hare Airport to Columbia, Mo.
- DFW to Beaumont, Texas.
- DFW to Fargo, N.D. American currently flies to Fargo from O'Hare.
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