Daytona airport keeps its Dallas and Philly flights. We’ll take it.


The love affair between Volusia County and aviation is long-standing. The presence of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and proximity of Cape Canaveral make an aerospace focus a no-brainer, and before the coronavirus infected the state’s economy, real hope was rising that the county would be able to attract firms involved in all kinds of flight, from drones to Saturn V rockets.

More:American Airlines extends nonstop Daytona Beach flights to Dallas, Philly

Like many things, these dreams have been put on hold for now, held hostage by COVID-19. For many, the focus is shifting.The new priority: Hold on to what we have.

In one area  – and for now  – the Daytona Beach International Airport is achieving that goal. Last week, the county announced that American Airlines would be continuing relatively new air service to Philadelphia, after  a pause from June 1 through Sept. 7. Earlier, the airport confirmed that American also intended to keep service going to Dallas-Fort Worth, a tremendously valuable route for people headed for destinations across the southwestern United States. Both services were originally guaranteed only through April.

Volusia County Council member Heather Post cuts a ribbon to celebrate American Airlines' new seasonal nonstop service connecting Daytona Beach with Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia on Dec. 17, 2020. On Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, the Volusia County-run airport announced American will extend its daily flights to and from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas through Aug. 16. It was previously only scheduled through April 5.

Unlike previous announcements, we’re not going to break out the champagne and balloons. It’s no secret that, after a year dominated by the coronavirus, the airline industry is in trouble. And American Airlines hasn’t been immune: In January, it reported the biggest annual loss in the airline’s history, and Wednesday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the potential layoffs of more than 1,000 American Airlines employees in Miami alone. Daytona Beach’s other major carrier, Delta, entered the pandemic with more cash, but it also suffered massive losses in 2020. The fate of every U.S. airline rests on factors completely outside of local airports’ control: How quickly and safely a critical mass of Americans can be vaccinated against coronavirus, and how much aid Congress decides to allocate.



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