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Coast airport celebrates coming of Direct Air service

GULFPORT — Direct Air, a scheduled indirect air service base operating in Lakeland, Fla., and corporate headquarters located in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is introducing year-round air service between Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland and Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport.

The nonstop 90-minute flight service will be offered three times per week, on Fridays, Sundays, and Wednesdays beginning June 15.

Scheduled service did not exist at Lakeland prior to June 23, 2011, when Direct Air began service from the underserved airport. In addition to the announcement of the Gulfport‐Lakeland route, Direct Air also announced the additional year-round service into Lakeland from Rickenbacker/Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pa.

“This is the typical expansion pattern of Direct Air,” said Ed Warneck, managing partner of Direct Air. “We start off with a few flights per week and add frequency and additional destinations based on demand. I guess you could say, we grow with the market.”

Direct Air began service in March 2007 flying 67,000 passengers in its first year. Since then, Travis Lott Jr., chairman of the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport Authority, said, “Given Lakeland’s central location between Tampa and Orlando, we feel we can attract many more visitors to the Mississippi Gulf Coast while providing our local community direct, low-cost access to all of the attractions central-west Florida has to offer. We appreciate the support and commitment of Direct Air and look forward to growing this service with them.”

Kay Ellison, managing partner of Direct Air, said, “Year after year, Gulfport is consistently a top leisure destination for people from central and western Florida looking for a quick getaway. We believe Gulfport will be the getaway destination of choice for our customers from the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas.”

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