United launches first Atlantic City flights

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News,Business

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The first United Airlines flight landed at Atlantic City International Airport from Chicago on Tuesday, signaling what transportation officials hope will be a new era of prosperity for the struggling facility and the gambling resort it serves.

The airline will run one roundtrip flight from Houston and Chicago each day. The flights will be operated by United Express carrier ExpressJet using 50-seat Embraer aircraft.

It's all part of a makeover of the airport undertaken by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which took over operations there last year. The changes aim to bring more economic activity to the region, particularly Atlantic City and its casinos.

It's also hoped additional flights at the airport will eventually ease some of the congestion at airports in Newark and Philadelphia.

"With new flights come new opportunities — for tourism, business and leisure travel, job growth, and economic stimulation," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, D-NJ, chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee. "By linking Atlantic City International Airport to United Airlines' two largest hub airports, we're creating an environment for additional positive developments."

Previously, Spirit Airlines had been the primary carrier at Atlantic City. When the Port Authority announced its plans last year, it said the airport could handle up to 300 flights per day but was handling only 27 per day at the time.

The Port Authority operates Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports, plus Teterboro in New Jersey and Stewart in New York. Combined, the three large airports annually handle more than 100 million passengers, and delays often have a ripple effect on air travel throughout the United States.

Legislation in 2007 in both states empowered the authority to establish one additional air terminal in each state. The port authority acquired its interest in Stewart in Newburgh, N.Y., in 2007.

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