"The addition of Charleston to DFW will open so many options going west and international," Morris said. "Charleston is a key economic city that provides a good base of business and leisure traffic."
Atkinson said people would be more likely to travel to the Mountain State for business now that there is a direct flight.
"It saves time, and sometimes there's a hassle factor that business people will say it's too hard to get here to do business," Atkinson said. "When you make it easier for people to travel, they will travel more."
The tie to Dallas will benefit the energy industry, Atkinson said.
"It will be a big help for the oil and gas industry because of the expertise that's in the Dallas area," Atkinson said, "and also the [flight] connections in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where the headquarters of natural gas companies are."
West Virginia University sports fans now have access to all universities that are part of the Big 12 Conference, Yeager spokesman Brian Belcher said.
Susan Chernenko, director of the state Aeronautics Commission, said she and her husband are Mountaineer fans who are looking forward to traveling to the Big 12 games through Dallas.
Chernenko said it will help boost tourism in the state, too.
"This is terribly exciting for the state and a huge opportunity for business and leisure travelers," Chernenko said at the Yeager celebration. "To bring those folks from Dallas here to West Virginia who may not have come before is good for the state and businesses."
The new flight will help bring staff from the Boy Scouts of America -- which is headquartered in Irving, near the Texas airport -- to West Virginia, who will be "using it all the time," Belcher said.
The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County will host the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in July. The 10-day event is expected to bring more than 40,000 Scouts and another 200,000 tourists to the area.
Atkinson said he met a Boy Scouts official in Dallas on Wednesday who expressed his happiness for the direct flight to Charleston.
American Airlines announced its Charleston to Dallas direct flight one month after it said it would merge with US Airways.
The $11 billion merger will form the world's largest airline. The company will operate under American Airlines name and will be based at American's headquarters in Fort Worth.
Atkinson said the merger makes for a stronger company with more opportunities.
The merged company will be about the same size as its competitors United and Delta, which is good for business, he said.
"We will have three competitors about the same size in the market, and that's important because people wanting to do business in West Virginia will have options of three alliances," Atkinson said. "Not very many communities our size will have that."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.