American Airlines kicked off a service expansion from Philadelphia International Airport
The year-round San Antonio service will be followed in late March with non-stop flights to Zurich from the airport, which is a short drive from much of northern Delaware.
The airport is in an expansion mode with the purchase of land adjacent to the airport that could be used for an air cargo hub or other purposes, the Philadephia Inquirer (paywall reported)
The flights are good news for business and the tourism industry in Delaware.
The Agriculture and Specialty Products businesses that will be spun off from DuPont in the next 14 months or so will be based in Delaware, with executives traveling frequently to operations in Europe and elsewhere.
European travelers who visit Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and other attractions, are also a significant part of the Delaware Valley’s tourism industry.
On May 4, flights to Budapest and Prague take off from Philadelphia, the largest trans-Atlantic hub for the massive airline. For a time many feared the carrier might cut back some service after merging with USAirways.
The flights to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, and Budapest, capital of Hungary, will be the first opportunities for passengers to travel non-stop to the central European cities from Philadelphia.
American is moving the Zurich service to PHL from JFK in New York, which is undergoing a major overhaul.
The Zurich flights will operate year-round. The Budapest and Prague services are seasonal. American is currently the only airline offering non-stop service to these three European cities from Philadelphia.
Also on May 4, American begins new service to Des Moines, Madison, and Omaha. Those flights will operate year-round. American is facing competition in Philadelphia and elsewhere from ultra-low fare carriers like Frontier and Spirit.
Frontier recently announced additional flights from Philadelphia to several destinations. The airline briefly served New Castle Airport and recently expanded service from Trenton, NJ.
Last month, American announced it will add non-stop service from PHL to Pensacola, Oklahoma City, and Fort Wayne. These year-round flights start on June 7. American is currently the only carrier that will offer non-stop service to these cities from Philadelphia.