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New charter airline to begin service to Tunica casinos

TUNICA, Miss. (AP) — A new charter airline plans to begin shuttling gamblers to a Mississippi airport near Tunica casinos starting July 1.

The Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau says Ashley Air and Travel will fly between the Tunica airport and Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Orlando, Florida; and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Each destination will be served with three weekly round trips.

Tunica Airport Director Eric Konupa says the flights will help increase tourism and gambling in northwest Mississippi, where casinos have been hard-hit by regional competition.

The airport has been without charter service for more than two years.

In 2017, the airport had 9,800 passengers. Not reaching 10,000 meant it missed out on $1 million in funding for improvements.

Officials say they hope Ashley will bring as many as 30,000 passengers yearly.