CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After officially signing a deal with the West Virginia International Yeager Airport earlier this year, Breeze Airways first flight touched down on the runway Wednesday afternoon.
The flight transported passengers from Orlando, Florida, one of the two cities that have so far been a part of the airline’s deal, with the other flight from Charleston, South Carolina landing earlier that day Wednesday.
While Orlando’s flight was supposed to land at approximately 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, it got moved back to a 4:30 p.m. arrival time, but Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Breeze, Angela Vargo said she’s happy it made it in nevertheless.
“It feels great, it was a little delayed which I was a little bit sad about, but it’s making it here and we’re going to turn it quickly and get people on their way and back to Charleston,” Vargo said.
Passengers and crew arriving from the first Orlando flight into West Virginia were greeted with a welcome party at Gate B2 Wednesday. Representatives from Breeze, CRW, and the Department of Tourism joined the celebration, along with a possible appearance from Gov. Jim Justice.
The inaugural inbound flight from Charleston, SC Wednesday morning also marked the airline’s 25th destination from South Carolina, its biggest base. That flight was greeted with a ceremonial water cannon salute by the 130th AW Fire Department.
State Secretary of Tourism, Chelsea Ruby said even with the first flights coming in Wednesday she had already heard of more interest in visiting the state building some momentum.
“This morning I was standing at baggage claim as they were coming in and just listening to two guys who had heard an ad in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a place they’ve never been, they jumped on the flight, came for a day trip, they’ve been out exploring Charleston today, and that’s really cool, to be able to have this access to the capitol city and to this region,” Ruby said.
Upon the original announcement about Breeze offering non-stop, twice weekly flights to Orlando, Ruby made the announcement last month that due to the influx of interested travelers, more flights were added. Flights to Orlando then doubled with the addition of two more added, along with an upgrade to Breeze’s biggest aircraft, the Airbus A220.
Vargo predicts the interest in Breeze flights will only grow even more.
“We’ve seen a lot of really early interest in all things, both coming into West Virginia and leaving, so it has been really exciting, and usually when we do launch markets and start to fly, that’s when we see the real growth, so I’m excited to see what’s to come in the next couple of months,” she said.
Ruby said three additional Breeze flights to other cities will be added over the next couple of years. She said the partnership the airport has with Breeze is a strong one.
“This is a great partnership, Breeze is not an airline that’s going to be in here and out in a short period of time, they’re an airline that came in and said we want to build a long term relationship with you, so this is a seven year partnership, they’ve committed to add five destinations to West Virginia,” said Ruby.
Tickets to and from Orlando, FL and Charleston, SC are available now.