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Officials Talk Up New Wilmington-to-Chicago Flight

By Jason Frye, posted Jul 6, 2011

Wilmington International Airport (ILM) officials and representatives from American Airlines and the North Carolina Department of Commerce officially marked the launch Wednesday of a new, nonstop flight between Wilmington and Chicago.

The first of the twice-daily flights between ILM and Chicago/O’Hare Airport actually occurred this past Saturday, but a news conference Wednesday at the airport gave officials the opportunity to tout the new service.

The twice-daily flights on American Eagle Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, depart at 6 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. Tickets are currently $89 each way, although prices will fluctuate with demand.

According to Jon Rosborough, airport director at ILM, the Air Service Development Program for the airport has been focusing on obtaining nonstop jet service to the top 10 destinations of travelers from Wilmington. Chicago was Wilmington’s sixth most-traveled-to destination in 2010, and the addition of the service to O’Hare means ILM now has nonstop service to six of the top 10 destinations.

“[Wilmington] is a top business destination for many of our current employers in our region,” Rosborough said. “GE Nuclear and PPD fly there very regularly.”

One reason Rosborough cited for companies such as GE and PPD having headquarters and facilities in Wilmington is the number of airlines and frequency of flights serving ILM.

“A lot of GE folks and support personnel come to Wilmington for business thus impacting our economy with hotel rooms, rental cars, food, et cetera,” he said.  “We hope people in the Chicago area will discover Wilmington as a destination and visit our area frequently, making a even greater impact on the local economy.”

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