QUINCY — SkyWest Airlines' first flight from Quincy to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Friday is nearly sold out.
Mayor Kyle Moore is among those taking the flight so that he can attend an Illinois Municipal League board meeting Saturday morning.
“Thanks to the nonstop service to Chicago O'Hare, the world is at your fingertips from Quincy Regional Airport,” Moore said.
Even before stepping aboard the 50-passenger jets that SkyWest will use, Moore is an enthusiastic supporter of the service. The Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft have climate controls,
lavatories, beverage service and two pilots. O'Hare is another selling point, Moore said.
“Our passengers will have direct connections to approximately 158 U.S. cities and 56 international destinations” and nearly four times the number of daily flights available out of St. Louis, Moore said.
The U.S. Department Transportation announced in August that it was awarding a two-year contract to SkyWest for 12 nonstop round trips per week at an annual subsidy of $2.659 million through the Essential Air Service program. The Utah-based carrier also was awarded an air service contract for Cape Girardeau, Mo.
One-way airfares will start at $89. Flights take about 65 minutes and go gate-to-gate in 71 minutes.
Layne Watson, a spokesman for SkyWest, said travelers can book their own tickets at united.com. He said ticket prices might vary depending on the day of travel, how far ahead the tickets are booked and the number of seats remaining.
“These planes are quiet and comfortable, and travelers are going to get the same service they have on United Airlines, with Mileage Plus Rewards,” said Watson, who added that there will be an attendant on each flight.
Watson said connections with other airlines will vary.
“Generally they are able to coordinate (luggage and security screening) if someone is going to another airline. The passenger needs to contact United ticketing and work directly with the other airline,” Watson said.
Quincy Regional Airport receives $1 million in annual maintenance funding from the federal government if it has 10,000 departures during a calendar year. Boardings fell short of the 10,000 threshold in recent years, and Moore hopes SkyWest service will help boost ridership.
SkyWest has a fleet of 417 aircraft that make about 2,100 flights each day to 219 destinations in North America. The company has 12,300 employees. The airline, headquartered in St. George, Utah, carried 31.2 million passengers in 2016.
8:08 a.m. Monday to Friday, Saturday
6:23 p.m. Monday to Friday, Sunday
4:42 p.m. Monday to Friday, Sunday
8:10 p.m. Monday to Friday, Sunday