City of Florence works to bring Delta back to airport - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

City of Florence works to bring Delta back to airport

Florence City Councilman Robby Hill presents his project to recruit Delta Airlines. (Source: WMBF News) Florence City Councilman Robby Hill presents his project to recruit Delta Airlines. (Source: WMBF News)
Florence Regional Airport on Palmetto Street Florence Regional Airport on Palmetto Street

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The City of Florence wants Delta Airlines to service the Florence Regional Airport again. This is five years after the airline left the airport. American Airlines has been the only carrier ever since.

Robby Hill serves on Florence City Council and on Wednesday morning he presented a recruitment package to the Florence County Economic Development Partnership, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and the Florence Regional Airport staff. It marks the beginning of the next 12 months of intense recruitment the city will take part in with Delta Airlines.

Hill explained it is going to take support from everyone in the city in order to do this.

"Having a single airline airport is just simply a challenge in marketing and giving customers choices,” said Hill, beginning his presentation.

The City of Florence hired a consultant to break down the numbers and formally recruit Delta. Research showed that in the potential market area the Florence airport should serve, right now only 30 percent of the people actually choose to fly out of Florence. Instead, people choose Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, or Columbia airports where they have more airlines.

“I want the community to know those thousands of people who drive to Charlotte or drive to somewhere else, if they work with us and partner with us, give us some time we can make it happen," Hill said.

This is time and proof the city has to show to Delta, they have what it takes to support another airline again. The Florence Chamber of Commerce is also behind the plans. President Mike Miller talked about how Delta coming back could affect the business climate in a positive way.

"The ability to fill those seats, fill the right type of aircraft, have the right type of access to airports, that’s what industry requires, and that itself will translate into jobs,” said Mike Miller.

He continued to explain that the Chamber’s job is to promote the airport the way it is now, and not downplay the American Airline service.

"It's how we can help them do their job, because it is incumbent upon us to keep industry going and the businesses that exist here today to be able to expand. And they need the airport in order to do that," Miller said.

In the past year, people can already see the improvements. 

“Cleaning up our corridor as you enter the City of Florence from the Florence Airport and having a class A facility for passenger services, the new fixed-base operator we have, and now economic development rallying behind,” Hill said.

Councilman Hill said community meetings will take place in the near future to hear from the public. This is a rough draft of a long process to come. It could take up to two years to get Delta at the airport again, but city leaders believe it can be done now. They want to take advantage of the growing industry and positive feedback they have received.

In addition to grants the Florence Regional Airport already has, the city said to help with costs Delta will incur, they plan to apply for a community air service development grant from the federal government.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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