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New airport destination set to help North Central WV economy

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - The first flight took off Wednesday from the North Central West Virginia Airport to it’s newest destination to Destin, FL.

Before the pandemic, people in the community requested this new flight which officials say can benefit the North Central West Virginia economy. This comes after a financially hard year for aviation. U.S. airlines lost more than $35 billion, according to analyst estimates from FactSet.

“We faced a lot of down revenues; we faced a lot of uncertainty about our future,” said Airport Director Rick Rock. Rock says that locally, they saw a 50% decrease in flight numbers over the last year.

Member of the Benedum Airport Authority Randy Elliot says there’s room to grow economically. “People want to go where they can get to and enjoy themselves. The beaches down in Destin and that area are wonderful. It adds to the economy of the airport, it adds to the economy of the area. People that are coming from there up here, they rent cars here, they buy food here, they rent hotel and motels here, so it helps North Central West Virginia tremendously.”

Rock says they’re already seeing an increase in flights booked. More than 100 passengers were onn the flight to Destin on Wednesday.

“We expect to get back to where we were. We have 23 flights a week this summer,” said Rock. “It’s going to be a great, busy summer with opportunities for people to go out and see, a lot of opportunities for people to come home, and we expect big things here and we’re going to work hard to make sure it happens.”

Officials also mentioned that their next goal is to work on bringing more people from Destin to visit the North Central West Virginia region.

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