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A new era in travel for the Northland took flight today in Duluth. United Airlines began offering nonstop service from Duluth International Airport to Chicago O'Hare International Airport. The twice-daily flights open up a world of destinations for Northlanders-to Chicago and beyond.
The flight from Duluth to Chicago will take less than 90 minutes. Once people land in Chicago, they have access to the 573 daily domestic flights offered by United and United Express, as well as 19 international daily departures that include cities in Asia, Europe and South America.
"There are many people who've worked hard to bring this service to Duluth International Airport, and I want to thank them for their passion and dedication," said Duluth Airport Authority Executive Director Brian Ryks. "They realize that adding a new destination allows us to meet the needs of more customers, fuels positive competition among carriers, and makes this region an even more appealing place to live and to locate and grow a business."
Ryks encouraged Northern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin residents to support this new service, whether they're travelling for business or leisure. "I have no doubt that Northlanders recognize the value of this option and want to see the flights continue for many years to come. By utilizing air travel, you are helping to sustain all of these services long term-and that's great for everyone."
The Duluth to Chicago flights will be operated by United Express, using 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets. Daily flight times are as follows:
Depart Duluth at 6 am; arrive in Chicago at 7:27 am
"We're pleased to bring United's Chicago service to Duluth," said Mike Thompson, SkyWest Airlines vice president - market development. Not only will this new route offer access to United's global route network through O'Hare, it will offer more ways to come to the Twin Ports for business and tourism."
This new service is part of a series of events that show the growth of the airport. Allegiant, which has offered nonstop service from Duluth to Las Vegas for the past three years, added twice weekly direct-to-Orlando flights in November. Delta continues to offer a strong lineup of direct-to-Minneapolis and Detroit flights. The addition of United raises the tally of destination cities to five.
In addition, a $65 million new terminal project is underway at the airport. Phase one, which focused on site preparation and infrastructure work, is complete. Construction on phase two, which is a new terminal, will begin in 2010 with completion expected in 2013.
The airport will not only remain fully operational throughout the project, it is thriving. "When our airport does well, it means our region is doing well," explained Ryks. "Each daily flight has a projected $4 million annual impact on the regional economy. That means United's service, with two daily flights, will have an impact of $8 million. We can be proud the airport is an economic engine-and one that's gaining speed."
Flights can be booked through your local travel agent or online at http://www.united.com/.