WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The first United Airlines flights from Wilmington to Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles took off Monday.
Officials from ILM Airport, United, and local leaders all came together to celebrate the new travel options and talked about what they think it will mean for the Port City’s future.
“This is the welcoming point for our region and we want to hug and embrace everybody that comes here for business, for pleasure, for tourism,” New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White said.
Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo said, “We are worldwide connections, Julie [Wilsey] says. We are worldwide, we have United, Delta, and American. What a great thing we have going on here.”
Not only will travelers have new places to go, but United created jobs by coming to ILM.
“They hired 22 employees, most of which are local employees who interviewed in Wilmington at the Hilton and they did training for three weeks,” airport director Julie Wilsey said. “They’re here and they’ll be United employees now.”
O’Hare and Dulles are United hubs, so the new nonstop flights will unlock a variety of connections to the west coast and international cities.
“This will allow our business travelers and our leisure travelers either a nonstop to those hubs or a nonstop that gets them to an international gateway or cities beyond Chicago and Dulles, so it’s really important to have all three network carriers and give our customers the opportunity and choice,” Wilsey said.
Wilsey said the airport is exploring more flight options to places like Denver, Boston, Newark, and Orlando.