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BOI in the running for ATL nonstop flight

Boise Airport and Chamber of Commerce officials announced a grant program Friday that's aimed at convincing Delta Airline to restart its nonstop service from Boise to Atlanta.

Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said the airline has pledged to send Boise a letter of interest, so it's pretty serious about starting up East Coast service here.

The flight was a nonstop staple for years that went away with the "economic downturn and increased fuel costs" combo punch that hit airlines so hard. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world, so a flight there would put Boise in closer range of all kinds of domestic and international destinations.

Generally, these sorts of grant programs offset the cost of getting flights up-and-running and help market them. Hupp said this grant is similar to one the city applied for last year. A major difference is the fact that Boise has named a specific hoped-for destination instead of just "a major East Coast city."  

The Atlanta flight would be a huge coup for Hupp, the rest of the Boise Airport and the Chamber. After years of hearing Boiseans bemoan the loss of nonstop destinations, Hupp has presided over a marked increase in service.

In the past year, airlines have added nonstops from Boise to Houston, San Diego and Chicago Midway.