LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - The Lynchburg Regional Airport will soon offer larger, faster flights and more lower seating prices.
The upgrade comes with American Airlines' regional jet service. Airport and city leaders said the goal is to attract more people to the Hill City.
Come September 7, the Lynchburg Regional Airport will have a new jet line-up consisting of three larger planes. One of the new models can hold up to 63 passengers, compared to the 48 seats on the current planes.
It's a big change from what travelers are familiar with at the airport, smaller, older propeller planes.
"The flight from Charlotte to Lynchburg is always choppy," commented traveler Cindy Lewis.
"It's not really comfortable. The air conditioning doesn't function as well as the jets," added Cindy's husband Andy.
Andy and Cindy Lewis, who are flying back to Oklahoma after moving their daughter into dorms at Liberty University, said after a good trip it's not enjoyable to fly back home cramped on a small plane.
However, Lynchburg city leaders hope the new jet service inspires more people to fly.
"It's got a first-class cabin and it is a very good-looking airplane," said Airport Director Mark Courtney.
The new jets, the CRJ-700 and CRJ-200s, come with more seats, more lower seating fares, cabin services and fly smoother.
Courtney said in 2015, 80 percent of seats were filled on all flights; it's the reason why the airport received the upgrades. City leaders hope it's a perk that will attract more people and business.
"With more seats we're going to be adjoining more passengers and that's going to do more to help economic development efforts in the area," said Courtney.
"We will also use it as a marketing tool when we are recruiting business and new executives that are considering Lynchburg as a home," said Christine Kennedy, the COO of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
And, as for Cindy, "it means I might be willing to come more often."
Right now, the CRJ-700 is already in use. But, the airport won't have its full new fleet until September 7.
Courtney further said he is currently working on adding another airline carrier, but cannot share any more information at this time.