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Delta Air Lines has begun its seasonal nonstop service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Rome on Wednesday.
The Atlanta-based carrier celebrated the latest addition to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s list of global destinations with preflight water arches and Italian fare. Delta is the dominant carrier at MSP, offering its customers the most long-haul destinations including Amsterdam, London, Paris and Tokyo-Narita.
Most Rome flights from the U.S. originate in New York but Delta’s route from Minneapolis may grab some travelers in the Midwest, said William S. Swelbar, a research engineer at MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation. “They see an opportunity to intercept some of the [Midwest feeder] traffic and to become an alternative” to the New York departure points, he said.
A Boeing 767 airplane will fly in both directions from June through August. The daily flight departs from MSP around 5:30 p.m. and arrives at Fiumicino — Leonardo da Vinci International Airport about nine hours and 40 minutes later. Return flights leave Rome daily around noon, landing in the Twin Cities nearly 11 hours later around 4 p.m.
Those who plan their vacations n advance can expect to pay roughly $1,200 to $1,700 for a round-trip ticket, according to a search on Delta’s reservation system.
Delta last week began new daily, nonstop service to Reykjavik, Iceland, putting it direct competition with Icelandair, which already flies the route. Delta will fly the route only during the summer months. Both airlines fly a Boeing 757 aircraft on the route and depart within a few hours of one another, but Delta significantly undercuts Icelandair on price on many of the days. Icelandair flies the nonstop route year-round, reducing its frequencies during the winter months.
Delta’s projected summer traffic numbers will lift MSP to the airline’s No. 2 hub after Atlanta, surpassing Detroit International Airport in terms of passenger volume, company executives said last month.