The national airline will run seasonal service to United “hub airports” in Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City, Beaufort County airports Director John Rembold said at a news conference.
He said the new service will “serve as an important business opportunity for our region and also help attract new tourists to the area.”
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- Starting on March 31, United will operate nonstop flights from Hilton Head Island to Washington Dulles International Airport two times a day.
- Starting on April 6, United will operate flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport two times a week.
- Also on April 6, United will begin offering flights to New York/Newark Liberty International airport once per week.
Rembold said the partnership with United Airlines has been in the works around 18 months.
Hilton Head Mayor David Bennett said he was “nearly speechless” when the partnership with United was confirmed.
“I’m excited about the future,” he said. “I’m excited to see what’s next.”
The airport, which is on the north end of Hilton Head, recently finished its runway expansion project. Lengthening the runway from 4,300 feet to 5,000 feet means larger jets can land there.
The project was the source of public concern about noise levels, tree removal in the area, lower property values and negative cultural and historical effects on nearby Mitchelville.
The airport completed a study in 2014 that responded to those concerns, which concluded that the longer runway would have no environmental impacts.
In March, Rembold said the purpose of the runway extension was to bring more airlines to Hilton Head.
American Airlines began jet service in July, and United will link its regional flights with an international network of routes.