Wednesday, April 04, 2018

United takes flight at Greenbrier Valley Airport (KLWB)

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A new commercial airline service in southern West Virginia took three years of planning to finally take flight.

United Airlines, operated by SkyWest, now provides daily direct flights from Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg to Chicago O’Hare and Washington-Dulles International Airports. The service replaces Via Air, whose contract expired in November 2017. Airport authorities began hiring in January for the highly-anticipated service, noted for boosting economic growth.

“Every time that happens we see a great bump in the economy,” said Airport Director Stephen Snyder. “The number of passengers coming into and out of our communities increase dramatically. What we see in a bump in traffic here at the airport, everybody sees as a bump in the economy on Main Street. We see this as a very positive thing.”

On Tuesday, airport staff and area leaders celebrated the airline’s launch as the first United flight landed from Chicago and departed for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Virginia, then Washington-Dulles Airport.

Inclement weather between the two spots prompted a nearly two-hour delay. In the meantime, airport workers enjoyed cake and refreshments in the terminal while waiting for the flight to arrive.

“You can go to any region of the country with only one stop,” said Snyder. “That is a game-changer for this region. So if you’re in San Diego, Phoenix, New York, Atlanta, you name it and you are literally only one stop away from Greenbrier Airport.”

United isn’t the only change at Greenbrier Valley Airport. Snyder said several renovations have been finished recently, including at the facility’s Landings Restaurant. Renovations at the pre-TSA eatery totaled $500,000.

“We want people to feel like their vacation started the second they looked down and saw the green pastures flying into Greenbrier Valley Airport. We want their vacation not to end until they actually land back home.”

The restaurant and much of the terminal features items made locally. Snyder said the goal is to show passengers the unique craftsmanship and artistic abilities of West Virginians.

“We’re not Tamarack but we’re trying a mini-version of that to highlight our local artisans and show people when they come in and they’re like “oh where in the world do you find that beautiful rocking chair?’. Well, you find it right here in West Virginia.”

Options for additional direct flights are in the works. Snyder said their current focus is ensuring the new direct flights run as smoothly as possible.

“We never stop and we will not stop. Chicago and Dulles are very, very key to the economy and what we think are market drivers, but we will continue to look at additional options. We’d like to have a southerly hub. We’re having those conversations weekly.”

Ticketing information for the flights can be found on United’s website.

Original article can be found here ➤

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