Delta to replace turboprops for jets in Oklahoma service

Thursday, April 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Regional jets will fly connecting flights for Delta Air Lines to and from Oklahoma airports instead of turboprops by Aug. 1.

``That's a tremendous thing for the airport,'' Karen Carney, spokeswoman for Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, said after the announcement Wednesday. ``We've struggled over the past few years when both Delta and American Eagle brought in a lot of turboprops.

``The community was not receptive to that because of the perception that we weren't a big enough city to have jets.''

Passengers prefer the jets because they are quieter and faster than the turboprops, Tulsa International Airport spokeswoman Mary Smith said.

``The general population perceives jets as being safer and certainly more comfortable,'' she said. ``Anything we can do to make passengers feel safer and more confident is a real plus, especially in today's air travel environment.''

The move will eliminate daily flights from the Oklahoma airports, but since the jets are bigger, the number of daily seats will decrease only marginally.

Will Rogers currently has eight daily flights, six of which are on turboprops. By July 1, however, the airport will have five daily jet flights to Dallas.

At Tulsa International Airport, the six daily turboprop flights will be reduced to four daily jet flights.

``That does impact customers because they have fewer choices, but this to me is a good deal because they're going from turboprops to jets,'' Smith said. ``There are a lot of things that contribute to passenger numbers, especially hassle. When people find out all their options will be on jets, I think that will make more people want to fly to Dallas rather than drive.''