Delta Air Lines plans to add a third daily flight between the Twin Cities and Rochester on April 9.
The move comes as Delta again drops its service connecting Rochester and Detroit. That once-a-day service also wraps up April 9, said John Reed, executive director of the Rochester International Airport.
The severing of Delta’s Rochester-Detroit flights comes just a half-year after those flights began. In a statement, Delta said the end of Rochester-Detroit flights was needed “to ensure we are matching capacity with demand.” Delta had previously halted this connection in late 2011.
Reed placed the reason for losing the Detroit connection not so much on traveler demand but on pilot shortages. “[Delta] is reallocating that plane and the crews that come with that,” he said.
When looking at losing Detroit but adding service between Rochester and the Twin Cities, Reed noted, seating capacity is essentially the same for his airport.
“We can hit most all the cities out of Minneapolis as opposed to Detroit,” he said.
Currently, Delta offers two flights out of Rochester to the Twin Cities, at 7:28 a.m. and 3:55 p.m., and two in the other direction, at 1 p.m. and 7:20 p.m.
Delta said the new flights will be: Rochester to MSP, at 12:35 p.m.; and MSP to Rochester, at 11:25 a.m.
When Delta service between the Mayo Clinic-operated Rochester airport and Detroit began in September, the airline also started new service connecting Rochester and Atlanta.
Reed said Tuesday that the Atlanta connection “has been well received.”