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Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi, and Rep. Barbara Cubin all R-Wyo., said that the Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced a new direct flight for Delta Airlines from Salt Lake City to Ronald Reagan National Airport. Delta currently serves three Wyoming communities, Jackson, Cody and Casper.

The DOT said it selected Delta because it would expand customer options and increase competition in multiple markets. This award gives Delta one round trip daily flight utilizing a Boeing 757 aircraft. Delta is currently evaluating its flight schedule and the DOT requires that service begin no later than Jan. 31, 2003.

"This is great news for Wyoming. Since airline deregulation in 1978, air service to small states has deteriorated and we have seen an increase in fares. With this award, air service to our region will be strengthened, and business and leisure travelers will have more flying options with this new Delta flight," the delegation said. "We are pleased that the DOT noted our support for Delta's application for these highly sought after landing slots at Reagan National."

The Wyoming delegation sent a letter in October to DOT Secretary Norman Mineta urging him to support applications from Delta and Frontier Airlines that would create new nonstop air service for Wyoming travelers. There were five other airlines vying for the slots. The DOT cited that Frontier was not selected because they already have one round trip flight from Denver International Airport to Reagan National, and its selection would not result in any new cities gaining single-connecting service to Reagan National.

The two slots at Reagan Airport opened after the bankruptcy of National Airlines. Under the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, the DOT is obligated to reallocate these landing slots using particular criteria such as increased competition by new entrant air carriers and domestic network benefits.