Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport adding flights to Charlotte, upgrading planes to Philadelphia

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Travelers flying out of Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport will soon see more flight options for certain routes. The airport plans to add flights to Charlotte and upgrade services to Philadelphia.

The enhanced services follow an increase in passenger traffic in 2016.

Traveling through Roanoke is a great option for flyers like Michelle Rifkin.

"I am from Floyd, so it's the closest airport. Even though it costs a little more, it's by far the most convenient," said Rifkin.

Figures show more passenger flew through Roanoke in 2016 compared to 2015.

"That was the first year that we've seen traffic increase since 2013," said Bradley Boettcher, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development. "We are very excited."

Boettcher said passengers will soon see an increase in service options. After adding a second daily flight to Laguardia earlier this year, American Airline now plans to upgrade its services to Philadelphia.

"Our Philadelphia service which has two flights on turboprops right now will get increased to regional jets," said Boettcher.

The change from turboprops to jets means flights to Philly will shift from 37 seats to 50 making space for 13 more passengers and extra room for carry-on luggage.

"Those little prop planes, my backpack barely fits in them," said Michelle Rifkin. "Just to know there are going to be larger planes with more capacity. That's a real great thing."

In addition, this April, Roanoke travelers will see the number of flights scheduled for Charlotte go up which could drive down prices.

"We'll go from seven flights a day down to Charlotte to nine flights a day," said Boettcher. "As we get more of these seats in the market that will help bring the cost of flying down a little bit because we'll have more lower fare seats available."