Next stop, D.C.
United Express will be offering new service between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) and United’s hub at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) starting Oct. 4, officials with the local airport announced Monday.
The airline also announced an added flight each way between AVP and Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
The airline will offer up to two nonstop, round-trip flights daily, using a 50-seat regional jet aircraft:
• Southbound flights to Washington will depart AVP at 6 a.m. every day and 2:10 p.m. daily except for Saturdays, scheduled to arrive at IAD in 81 minutes.
• Northbound flights to AVP will depart IAD at 12:30 p.m. daily except Saturdays and 5:05 p.m. daily. Those flights are expected to last 65 minutes.
• The added Chicago trips will depart ORD at 7:10 a.m. and AVP at 9:10 p.m., respectively.
The Dulles move in particular will give travellers access to a wide range of connecting flights.
United operates 191 daily flights to 73 airports across the United States from IAD, including frequent daily service to top business travel markets in Newark/New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, as well as 26 daily nonstop flights to 33 international destinations.
AVP Executive Director Carl Beardsley said discussions with United and other airlines about expanded air service have been ongoing “for months.”
Beardsley said he and his staff at the airport are always looking for new services to provide for customers, and that he is “making progress” on securing a new non-stop service to Florida, but there’s nothing to announce at this time.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to provide service to the Washington D.C. area,” Beardsley said. “And this will also provide a good place for travelers to get connecting flights to the Florida market.”
Beardsley said the airport hope to announce other new services soon.
“We’ve had a really good run lately, adding flights to Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte and now Washington D.C.,” Beardsley said.
At the April meeting of the Airport Board, Beardsley announced that boardings decreased for the third straight month — down in March by 14.4 percent compared to March 2017, a decline from 21,054 last year to 18,012 this year.
Beardsley said the main reasons for the decline were the loss of Allegiant’s direct flights to Florida — which ended when the carrier left the airport in January — and 31 departing flights canceled due to inclement weather.
Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri, a member of the airport board, asked Beardsley for an update on negotiations with airlines for a new Florida service and Beardsley said he is constantly searching for another carrier who can offer such service.
Beardsley said, “You have to prove yourself as a better option in the market. Allegiant did very well here — their flights were always full. So, we have a strong case to present.”
Beardsley recommended Florida travelers to inquire at Boscov’s travel department. He said the department store chain offers 18 flights per year from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Orlando and many of them include deals on hotels and/or car rentals.