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Yeager hopes to maintain nonstop New York service after American pulls plug on Charleston-LaGuardia flight

CHARLESTON,W.Va. -- Yeager Airport officials are optimistic that another airline will pick up the nonstop Charleston-New York air service that American Airlines will drop June 12, the same day it adds nonstop service from Yeager to its Dallas hub.

"From the airport's perspective, the New York flight was doing well," said Yeager's marketing director Brian Belcher. "But for the airline, it made more sense to serve us from their Dallas hub, where American has a lot more connecting domestic and international flights than they have at LaGuardia."

The Dallas area is also the site of the headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America, which operates the new Summit Bechtel Scouting Reserve in Fayette County. Boy Scout officials traveling to and from their new West Virginia high-adventure site are expected to make up a large share of the new route's business travel customers.

While the direct flight to LaGuardia has been popular with West Virginia passengers, it accounts for only about 40 percent of Yeager customers flying to and from New York. Passengers making one-stop trips via Washington-Dulles, Charlotte and Detroit account for most of Yeager's Charleston-New York traffic, Belcher said.

"New York is one of our Top 10 destination cities, and we would like to continue to have nonstop service there," Belcher said. "We're in discussions with other airlines. I think we can do it."

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.


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