By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO - A third air service could be landing at Tupelo Regional Airport, but officials say no definite plans have been made.

Comair, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines and a Delta Connection carrier, operates nearly 800 daily flights to 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Among them is Cincinnati, where Delta has its second-largest hub.

Comair is based out of nearby Erlanger, Ky., where Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc. is headquartered. Erlanger is some 20 miles from Cincinnati.

Toyota's first North American plant is in Georgetown, Ky., which is served by Comair in Cincinnati.

Should Comair begin service at Tupelo Regional, it would join Mesaba - which is the regional carrier for Northwest Airlines - and another Delta Connection regional carrier, Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

But a Delta official said reports that the airline had inked a deal to begin service between Tupelo and Cincinnati are premature.

"As a result of Toyota's announcement that it would build in Mississippi, we are looking at the opportunity to link the Mississippi site with Georgetown," said Delta spokesman Kent Landers. "But at this point, there have been no definite decisions made. Certainly, we will look to see if that route would fit into our operations."

The $293.9 million in incentives approved by the state Legislature includes $3 million for extra air service.

Tupelo Regional Executive Director Terry Anderson also said no commitments have been made to bring Comair, though he said "it would make sense."

Tupelo Regional added jet service between Tupelo and Atlanta in June 2005. Enplanements - the number of boardings - increased 44 percent from the previous year, to nearly 30,000. Last year, emplanements increased 5 percent, to more than 31,000.

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