Originally Posted Online: April 16, 2013, 11:49 am
Last Updated: April 16, 2013, 12:55 pm

Delta switching to bigger planes on Moline-Atlanta flights

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

MOLINE -- Delta Air Lines will provide mainline service to the Quad City International Airport beginning June 10, offering room for 56 more passengers than its current 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta.

Director of Aviation Bruce Carter, making the announcement this morning during a meeting of the Metropolitan Airport Authority board, said this is the first time Delta has offered mainline service in Moline.

Both the 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta and the return flight leaving Atlanta at 9:21 p.m., will be made with an A-319 Airbus, which seats 126 passengers, 12 of those in first class. The Delta Connection aircraft in use on the flight now seats 70 passengers.

Mr. Carter said the 6 a.m. flight is most in demand and this is an opportunity for the community to show Delta it can support larger aircraft.

Delta plans to offer mainline service through August and Mr. Carter said he will continue to lobby the airline to maintain mainline service into the future.

"This is a very exciting day," he said.

Delta also serves the Quad Cities with connecting flights to Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Mr. Carter said he would welcome mainline service to those cities, too.

Airlines are phasing-out smaller aircraft, Mr. Carter said. Later this week, Allegiant will begin using a 156-seat Airbus for service between Moline and Phoenix/Mesa.

In other business, the board approved a 3 percent general wage increase for Mr. Carter and 13 non-union management and administrative employees. The board also approved a 3 percent raise for 12 supervisors and full- and part-time employees working for Airport Services, LLC.

The raise takes effect May 5.Mr. Carter said the managers and employees have not had a wage adjustment since July 2010.

The wage increases will cost $42,000 a year, he said.

In mid-January, the board approved a five-year contract with its union workers. It calls for theAmerican Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3744 to get a 2 percent annual wage increase each year of the contract through June 30, 2017.

The union represents about 47 airport employees.