Delta Air Lines will offer daily nonstop service between Portland and Minneapolis/St. Paul this spring, the airline said Monday.

The new route announcement comes amid a near-collapse of air travel because of the coronavirus pandemic. International air travel fell by 60 percent in 2020, and the passenger air industry lost $370 billion, according to a January report from the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“This past year has been incredibly challenging for our industry, and we certainly recognize that there is a leisure tilt to most airline bookings at this time,” Paul Bradbury, the Portland International Jetport’s airport director, said in a statement. “We see this announcement as reinforcement of the incredible tourism driver our state is.”

The new flights will start May 28. Flights will depart from Minneapolis/St. Paul daily in the morning and from Portland at midday. It is the fifth nonstop Delta flight from Portland, including Atlanta, Detroit, New York La Guardia and New York JFK airports.

Passenger numbers at the Portland jetport fell by a staggering amount last year. About 792,570 fliers came through the airport in 2020, nearly 64 percent down from the year before.

“We certainly recognize that continued improvement on the public health side of things is necessary to make this new service successful,” Assistant Airport Director Zach Sundquist said. “We want to make sure that when you and your family are comfortable with flying again, we have the service that you’re looking for.”


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