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Delta to launch nonstop flights between Minneapolis and Charleston

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Delta Air Lines is the largest carrier by passenger volume at Charleston International Airport with about 27 percent of the market. Provided

Charleston airport's list of distant destinations continues to grow, this time with a new service to the upper Midwest.

Delta Air Lines will launch a nonstop flight Friday to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul, bridging the Twin Cities with history-steeped Lowcountry. The return trip from Charleston starts Saturday.

When announced last fall, the flight was said to be daily and year-round, but Delta's website shows some days without daily service and the flight ending in early September.

The flight from Charleston will now operate six days a week with no service on Sunday, according to Gary Edwards, a liaison between the Lowcountry airport and the Explore Charleston tourism agency. Also, no nonstop flights will be available July 7-14, he said.

Passengers will travel on a 76-seat, single-aisle Embraer 175 aircraft with first-class and coach sections for the roughly three-hour trip, according to Delta's website. 

Minneapolis-St. Paul is considered not only a destination for business and leisure travelers. It's also a connecting point for domestic and international travelers, since the Minnesota airport is a hub for Delta, Edwards said.

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"This is more exciting news for Charleston and the airport," said Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston and a member of the board that operates the airport. "It provides another link between Charleston and the Midwest."

Delta is not the first carrier to offer local travelers service the Twin Cities. Frontier Airlines' seasonal service ran from August to November last year.

Delta is Charleston's oldest carrier and its largest by passenger volume with about 27 percent of the market, currently offering 20 daily flights to five airports in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit and New York.

The airline established its Minneapolis-St. Paul flight hub through its 2008 acquisition of Northwest Airlines, which was headquartered in the Twin Cities.

Atlanta-based Delta said it operates more than 400 daily departures from the Minnesota airport, including nonstop service to major West Coast cities and to Asia.

Charleston's airport now serves nonstop service to 31 airports in 27 cities, including the first transatlantic flights to London on British Airways.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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