From USA Today
June 8, 2018
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The first non-stop American Airlines flight from Chicago landed at Burlington International Airport on Thursday at about 3 p.m. ET . It was given a traditional water-cannon salute showered by airport firetrucks in celebration.
Airport Director Gene Richards said in an interview with the Burlington Free Press that the new service from American — two daily non-stop flights to and from Chicago — will give Vermonters important new options for their travel.
"If you're heading west, with the weather in New York, it gives you one more opportunity with one more airline," Richards said.
The late afternoon arrival time of the first flight from Chicago to Burlington is ideal for business travelers, according to Tom Torti, president of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"If you have a meeting the next day you have the night to get ready," Torti said "So many flights in the past have arrived in the early morning. You go to the meeting before you go to the hotel. It doesn't give you the opportunity to take a breath."
Richards said the Burlington airport is trying to "break out" of the New York area by offering flights to other airline hubs, including Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta.
"You really want people to get to those hubs and get there quicker," he said.
United Airlines has offered non-stop service to Chicago from Burlington for years, Richards said, with four flights daily. Those flights will continue.The new flights to Chicago from American Airlines are seasonal, and will continue if the flights do well.
Torti is confident the new flights from American Airlines are here to stay.
"American Airlines, or any airline, does not add flights to a community unless they see growth and growth potential, because it's all numbers-driven," Torti said.