Nonstop city flights to Detroit start Tuesday

Nonstop city flights to Detroit start Tuesday

September 5th, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Chattanooga's growing auto hub gains another spoke Tuesday when Delta Air Lines starts daily nonstop flights to the Motor City.

"We've met with Volkswagen and talked with their suppliers. They're excited to connect nonstop to Detroit, and with the connection options both domestically and internationally," said Christina Siebold of Chattanooga's airport.

Trebor Banstetter, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Delta, said Detroit remains the center of the auto industry in the United States.

"Certainly, that is going to be a big part of that service," he said.

The airport is bolstering the service with $50,000 worth of marketing and fee waivers, Siebold said.

The promotional campaign, paid for from the airport's operations budget, will help get the word out about the service, while Delta receives some landing fee or terminal rent cuts, she said.

While VW moved its U.S. headquarters from the Detroit area to Herndon, Va., in 2008, the automaker still has about 400 people in Auburn Hills, Mich.

There, personnel handle VW's purchasing and quality control, research and development and technical support related to plant equipment.

VW plans to start production at its $1 billion Chattanooga auto assembly plant early next year.

Banstetter said Delta will fly 50-seat regional jets to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Siebold said the airline is pleased with advance bookings. Fares last week, she said, were about $300 roundtrip.

Siebold said the flight schedule, with morning departures from both cities, lets fliers get in a day's work and then return early the next day.

"Clearly, the airline was sensitive to travel needs," she said.

Online: Hear Christina Siebold talk about the new service. Read previous stories.