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Inaugural flight to celebrate new destination in Charlotte

The maiden flight of the newly announced air service to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina will feature VIP passengers at a press conference preceding the inaugural flight, at 8 a.m., Tuesday.

“This is a special moment for the Williamsport Regional Airport,” airport Director Richard Howell said, according to a news release. “We have been working on this for months and this flight marks a new era of flight travel to the region.”

To mark the occasion, Howell will have a few of the flight passengers speak to the public before boarding the plane, including long-time area businessman and Williamsport Regional Airport Authority Board member Frank Pellegrino, Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare and Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President Jason Fink.

“This flight is significant to our county and to our region,” Frank Pellegrino said, according to the news release. “It signifies a bold new step to opening up the area with air service that we have not had before. It is important to both the business and leisure sectors of our travel here.”

“We are always looking at opportunities to expand our network to destinations that are important to our customers and the community,” said Ralph Lopez, vice president of Charlotte Hub Operations at American Airlines. “Our new service from Williamsport to the Queen City will offer passengers a new convenient flight with direct access to more than 135 destinations across the globe.”

The maiden flight will also be recorded on video and with photography to document the flight and capture a rare and spectacular “water cannon salute” arching over the jet at the Williamsport Regional Airport, the news release said.

“In its short time of being open, the new air terminal at the Williamsport Regional Airport has showcased modern, updated flight services and travel support features,” the news release said.

An added new feature includes air service customers being able to park for free at the Williamsport Regional Airport.

The new flights, available through American Airlines, will afford travelers the opportunity to fly into one of American’s major hubs, with nearly 500 flights leaving Charlotte daily. The estimated two-hour flight will give regional travelers from the Central Pennsylvania region a new gateway to several worldwide destinations.

American is also offering added flexibility by extending its offer to waive change fees for customers booking tickets for any new travel purchased by Sept. 8, 2020.

The news release said the Williamsport Regional Airport and American Airlines follow strict safety protocols for the health and well-being of travelers. The airport requires face coverings in the terminal and asks travelers to observe the physical distancing policy of 6 feet or more at all times. Sanitizing stations are available through the building and enhanced cleaning of multiple touch surfaces takes place throughout the day. Protective shielding has been installed at places like ticket counters and in the security area..

Effective July 29, the airline also expanded its face covering policy to require all customers over the age of 2 to wear face coverings at airports and on board, strengthening the airline’s commitment to keep customers and team members safe.

Along with the maiden flight celebrations, the airport has a PM Exchange with the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce event for chamber members tonight.

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