Delta Air Lines will start daily nonstop flights between Chattanooga and New York City in July, becoming the second carrier from Lovell Field to offer the service to that key market.
Delta will fly to New York City's LaGuardia Airport using a 76-seat regional jet, said Terry Hart, the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport's chief executive.
"We try to deliver to our customers options for travel," he said.
Delta Air Lines plans to begin daily nonstop service between Chattanooga and New York on July 10. The planned schedule is:
› Departs Chattanooga, 7:05 a.m.
› Arrives in New York, 9:30 a.m.
› Departs New York, 8:20 p.m.
› Arrives in Chattanooga, 10:55 p.m.
The Delta service, slated to start July 10, sets up head-to-head competition for trips to the New York City area, which is the No. 1 market for Chattanooga fliers.
United Airlines started flying into Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, about 16 months ago.
Dan Jacobson, who heads the Airport Authority at Lovell Field, said 75 percent of traffic out of Chattanooga is for business and travelers need to fly out and return the same day.
Delta will make one roundtrip daily between the cities, with an early morning flight from Chattanooga and late evening return service to the Scenic City, according to the schedule.
"It adds another tool ...," Jacobson said. "We're excited."
United offers two daily roundtrips between Chattanooga and the New York area, and it has seen the service grow to where it's filling about 70 percent of its seats, Hart said.
After no nonstops to the New York area for about a dozen years prior to United's service, Chattanooga now has two carriers vying for passengers.
Hart said airlines have noticed the airport has posted record traffic for the past four years. The airport CEO said no financial incentives were offered to Delta for the New York service.
Passenger boardings out of Chattanooga are closing in on about 500,000 annually, up 56 percent from 2013.
Hart said he expects the new Delta flights to be a positive to airfares into the New York area. Fares should be posted on Delta's website today, he said.
"Multiple choices help competition," Hart said.
He said the new New York flights will be on Delta Connection carrier Endeavor Air flying CRJ-900 aircraft. The planes offer 12 first-class seats of the 76 on board, and Hart said travelers like the multiple class seating configurations on aircraft.
As Chattanooga boardings have soared in recent years, so has Atlanta-based Delta.
Delta boardings climbed nearly 8 percent higher last year than in 2016 as the airline's share of air traffic in Chattanooga is up almost 30 percent from a decade ago, figures show.
While the airport hit a record of 484,517 boardings last year, up 15.6 percent, Delta's Express Jet service captured 231,151 of the total, or 47.7 percent, according to Lovell Field.
Jacobson quipped that his brother lives in Brooklyn, and the Delta service offers him another way to see him.
"I've tried all different options," he said.
Contact staff writer Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318.
This story has been corrected to provide the accurate date the Delta service begins.