After nearly 20 years, Delta Air Lines has begun flying big jets back into Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
Since May, an Airbus A320 has been flying in from Salt Lake City every night at 10:20 and leaving at 8 the next morning. Airport Director Craig Davis said that while the original plan was for a trial period, he has since been told the flights will be permanent.
Delta stopped flying 737s into Idaho Falls in the 1990s, opting instead to have Skywest provide service with Brasilia turbo-props and Canadair regional jets. The Brasilias are long gone, and the CRJs are reaching the limit the Federal Aviation Administration is willing to allow them to remain flying in United States airspace. “(They’re) timing out and being decommissioned, and the big question is what is going to replace them.
With 12 first class seats and 148 seats in the main cabin, the Airbus is a much larger and roomier plane. This is the same jet Frontier was briefly flying between Idaho Falls and Denver in 2014 (a new CEO changed the company’s business strategy, and Frontier pulled out of smaller markets). Davis said he does not know whether more big commercial jets will be coming to Idaho Falls, but sees the Delta flight as a positive sign.
On a less celebratory note, he said he does not see fares out of Idaho Falls coming down until Delta and Alaska Air settle the feud they are having over the Salt Lake to Seattle route. At a recent conference he attended, an executive from one of the carriers told him that could take 12 to 18 months.
“Obviously we’d like to have Delta drop its rates,” he said.
This article was originally published on BizMojo Idaho. It is used here with permission.