He said with coal being exported around the world and the state's relationships with businesses like Toyota, convenient travel options are essential to maintaining those international ties.
"People who are going to do business with us from all over the world need to be able to get here," Atkinson said.
"Email and video conferencing only take you so far," he said. "The face-to-face interaction is what drives those sales, makes those deals happen and brings about new investment and growth."
Officials also said the new connection is ideal given West Virginia University's new affiliation with the Big 12 Conference.
Atkinson said the Dallas hub will help WVU fans and fans from visiting teams make connecting flights to and from games.
"I think American serves every airport closest to the (Big 12) campuses -- even Manhattan, Kansas and Waco, Texas," he said. "So football fans will be able to have a one-stop connection."
The daily flights leave Dallas at 1:05 p.m. and are scheduled to arrive at Yeager at 4:30 p.m. each day. The flight drops off and then boards new passengers to depart Yeager at 5 p.m. for the return trip to Dallas.
According to flight-tracking service FlightAware.com, the average fare for Wednesday's inaugural flight to Charleston was $209.53.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.
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