The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 11, 2010

Direct flights from Atlanta and New York now available

LEWISBURG — Traveling to and from The Greenbrier became a little easier Thursday with the announcement of direct flights between Greenbrier Valley Airport and both Atlanta and New York.

Gov. Joe Manchin and Jim Justice, chairman and owner of The Greenbrier, greeted passengers at the airport as they departed a Delta Airlines plane following the first direct flight from Atlanta.

“I told them it was our inaugural flight,” Justice said, adding he informed the passengers of the significance of their journey. “It’s the culmination of a dream all of us had looked forward to for a long time.”

“We’ve got the peaches coming from Georgia and the apples coming from New York,” Manchin said. “We’ve got a full basket right now.”

The addition of the daily hour-and-a-half flights will allow easier access to the Greenbrier Valley. Previously, visitors were forced to fly to Charleston or Roanoke, Va., and then drive the rest of the way.

“Anybody and everybody loves it when they get here, but it’s been an obstacle course to get here,” Justice said. “We’ve solved that.”

In addition to allowing easier access for guests of The Greenbrier, the new flights will be beneficial to residents of Greenbrier County as well as surrounding counties.

“It will be a wonderful thing for area people because now they won’t have to drive to Charleston and to Roanoke and connect and go through all the bells and whistles and hoops,” he said.

With his purchase of The Greenbrier, Justice rescued the world-famous resort from bankruptcy and an uncertain future.

In the year since the purchase, Justice has overseen the construction of the soon-to-open casino at the resort and was responsible for bringing in an upcoming PGA tournament.

Justice told a crowd gathered for Thursday’s announcement that The Greenbrier recently made a significant stride.

“We made a small profit in May,” he said. “It’s probably the first month The Greenbrier has made a profit in 732 years, but we’re on our way ... .

“I think it’s (the new flights) is going to make a lot of great things happen.”

Manchin, as well as Sen. Jesse Guills and Greenbrier County Commissioner Betty Crookshanks, praised Justice for his commitment to The Greenbrier as well as to West Virginia.

“What a blessing to have this man,” Manchin said. “(He’s) a West Virginian through and through. That’s what it takes, that passion.”

— E-mail: mjames@register-herald.com

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