Delta Airlines will be returning to Lincoln later this spring.
The airline, which suspended flights from Lincoln last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will resume service to Minneapolis on May 26 with two flights a day, the Lincoln Airport said in a news release.
“We are thrilled to welcome Delta back to Lincoln and look forward to working together with them as we chart the best path for a full recovery of our critical aviation services,” airport Executive Director David Haring said in the release.
Delta cut its Lincoln flight to Atlanta in March of last year and then cut its Minneapolis flight in July because of greatly reduced passenger numbers.
It originally got permission from the federal government to suspend service through the end of September, but the suspension eventually became open-ended.
Airport officials said they always were optimistic that Delta would come back to Lincoln at some point.
“We’ve always been confident that Delta would return and patient in knowing they’d choose to come back when they felt the time was right,” said Airport Authority Board Chairman Nick Cusick. “Pre-COVID, Lincoln Airport saw great passenger numbers with this flight, so we know there is a demand and need in our community for it and glad that it’s returning.”
While the return of the Minneapolis flight is a boost to the airport, Delta has not said when — or if — it plans to resume flights to Atlanta.
The Lincoln Airport struggled last year because of the pandemic and had only about 103,000 passengers, a nearly 70% drop from 2019 numbers that were the highest in more than a decade. Delta had less than 24,000 passengers for the approximately six months it operated, compared with about 56,000 passengers in the same period in 2019.
United Airlines continued flying to both Chicago and Denver but greatly cut back on the frequency of flights. It saw its passenger numbers decline 62% in 2020 compared with 2019.
Currently, United sends two flights to Chicago and one to Denver each morning. The Delta flights to Minneapolis are set for 1 p.m. and 5:40 p.m.
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