Delta Air Lines announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its daily service connecting Rochester, Minn., and the passenger carrier's hub in Atlanta.

Starting July 9, Delta will offer second flights in both directions.

The new flights are "tremendous news for our region," John Reed, executive director of the Rochester International Airport, said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "This movement by Delta to add a new flight to Atlanta is only possible because of the support of the current Delta flights and the demand for more air service in our region."

Delta will begin offering a 6:30 a.m. flight from Rochester to Atlanta and a 7:10 p.m. flight from Atlanta to Rochester. Currently, Delta has a 3 p.m. flight from Rochester to Atlanta and a 1:59 p.m. flight from Atlanta to Rochester.

Delta initially began service to and from those cities in September 2014.

Aircraft for all of the flights is the Bombardier CRJ-700, a regional airliner with a range of 1,650 miles. It includes a first-class option among its roughly 65 to 70 seats, depending on the aircraft's configuration.

Delta's announcement comes three weeks after rival United announced it would start passenger service connecting Rochester and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Three United flights in each direction begin June 8.

American Airlines also operates out of Rochester, connecting with O'Hare.

Rochester's airport was established in 1928 by the Mayo Clinic, which relies heavily on air service for its personnel and patients. It is owned by the city and operated by Rochester Airport Co., a Mayo subsidiary.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482