BY: Susan Orr, The Evansville Courier & Press
United Airlines will begin service at Evansville Regional Airport in June, officials said Monday.
The carrier will offer three daily flights to Chicago.
With the addition of United, the Evansville airport now is served by three major airlines, including American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Though American already offers service to Chicago, Evansville airport officials say United offers unique direct flights between Chicago and more than 75 destinations in the U.S. and abroad. Those unique destinations include Washington Dulles; Munich, Germany; and Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida, in addition to dozens of others in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and Central America.
"It just gives us that much more connectivity to the world," said Airport Director Doug Joest.
Joest said the airport courted United persistently for the past several years, keeping airline officials up to speed on Tri-State business developments as well as promoting Evansville as a good market.
All that persistence paid off, Joest said, with United agreeing to add Evansville service.
"Finally, we got their attention," he said.
Having additional service should be a boost for the Tri-State economy, said Greg Wathen, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana.
Wathen called the additional service "an important selling point" that his office can use as it works to retain and attract economic development in the area.
Airport spokeswoman Dianna Page said the airport had been hoping United would choose a different city to serve from Evansville, since Chicago is already covered by existing service.
But, she said, the decision was United's to make.
"The airline felt that Chicago was the best place to start," Page said.
Page said United does offer good connections to Western U.S. airports, an area that has traditionally been a weak spot for Evansville. And if demand for the Chicago service is strong, Page said, there's the possibility United might add service to other cities down the road.
Chicago-based United did not have a representative at Monday's announcement, which took place at the airport. Daily flights are set to leave Evansville for Chicago at 6:39 a.m., 10:24 a.m. and 3:36 p.m. Daily arrivals from Chicago are scheduled at 9:51 a.m., 3:06 p.m. and 8:31 p.m.
United will fly the routes using Embraer 145s — 50-seat regional jets.
The new United flights are available for booking now, though the flights won't start running until June 4.