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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – The Shoals’ newest airline took off for the first time Tuesday.

The flight out of Northwest Alabama Regional Airport, powered by Contour Airlines, departed at about 9 a.m. It took Florence Mayor Andy Betterton and other city officials to Charlotte where Contour Airlines CEO Matt Chaifetz said residents can access a wide network of airlines.

He said while this is good for Shoals residents but even better for their community’s economic development.

“The opportunity to connect Muscle Shoals to one of the largest airline hubs in the country. In Charlotte, where our partner American Airlines serves over 100 destinations nonstop, really opens the door for residents of the area,” said Chaifetz.

When Gov. Kay Ivey visited the Shoals in February she said that this development would help put Muscle Shoals on the map, both figuratively and literally.

Officials believe that this new airline will make the Shoals significantly more appealing to businesses who might want to expand into the area.