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Delta Air Lines – the ‘Gem of the South’ – marks 80 years in Charleston

Delta Air Lines today marked its 80th year in Charleston with a walk back in time.
delta-air-lines-80th.jpgPhotographs and other images that harken to the airline’s history in Charleston were on display as airport workers joined Delta employees to celebrate the anniversary. Delta, the largest airline at CHS, began air mail service here on July 7, 1934. Passenger service began a month later on Aug. 5, 1934.
“Delta has a rich history in Charleston and we are pleased to have Station Manager Deborah Strong and her great team of people at Charleston International Airport,” said Paul Campbell, director of airports for the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
When Delta began service in 1934, the airline used a seven-passenger, 100 mph Stinson T aircraft. It took 23 hours and 42 minutes and 10 stops to fly mail to Dallas, Texas.  Today, the airline can reach its destinations from Charleston in 45 to 90 minutes on jets that fly nearly 500 mph.
In 2013, Delta transported a little more than one million passengers in and out of Charleston International Airport. The airline has grown from seven daily non-stop flights in 1985 to 35 flights to and from Atlanta, Detroit and LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in New York City.
“We are so proud to have been part of the Lowcountry family for the last 80 years. Charleston is one of the founding member stations of the Delta family,” Strong said. “We have seen many changes – from prop planes to jets – and a great partnership has flourished through the years.
“We are looking forward to the next 80 years with a new airport and great economic growth fostered by the No. 1 travel destination and friendliest city honors,” she said. “Our CHS team is going to earn its title with Delta as the “Gem of the South.”
Delta’s ticket counter at the airport will be the first one renovated as part of the $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) currently under way. During the week of Aug. 11, Delta is scheduled to move into temporary space across the ticketing hall until its permanent ticket counter is built in 2015. This move makes it possible for all six airline ticket counters to be renovated.
“Delta is helping us pave the way for TRIP to transform the ticketing hall,” Campbell said. “We’re looking forward to the day that all the airlines and our passengers can enjoy a modern airport facility.”
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