American Kicks Off New MHT Route To O’Hare - Manchester InkLink

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MHT to ORD is now an official route (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

BY ANDREW SYLVIA

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) and American Airlines celebrated on Thursday as the first ever American Airlines flight from Manchester to Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) took flight.

Passengers, American Airlines officials and local dignitaries gathered at the flight’s boarding gate for a series of proclamations followed by cake and Chicago deep dish pizza.

“Celebrating the initiation of a service like we are today is an important event in the life of an airport, it presents new horizons, new opportunities and new beginnings,” said Manchester-Boston Regional Airport director Ted Kitchens.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig praised Kitchens and his staff for their community outreach toward this expanded service at the airport. Congressman Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) also praised the new route, adding that as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that he is working on legislation to provide additional infrastructure spending to aiports, including Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Ted Kitchens (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

The new route will facilitate a variety of new destinations for American Airlines’ New Hampshire-based passengers, ranging from domestic locales to international ones serviced by American Airlines’ partnerships with foreign carriers operating out of Chicago.

Southwest already provides flights to Chicago’s Midway Airport, but American Airlines District Sales Manager for New England Paul Swartz says the decision to provide this new route hinged not on competition, but on the desire to serve New England and provide additional reach for local passengers through American’s four hub airports.

“This is a further example of American supporting the New England area by providing connectivity not just domestically, but internationally,” said Swartz. “We value Manchester based on its growing population and location just outside Boston. We have a large amount of professional and leisure passengers north of Boston and throughout New Hampshire. This (new route) is just another example of our commitment to helping people here in Manchester getting to where they need to be.”

John Trent of Bedford was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight as his son Samuel participates in the National History Bee in Chicago.

flight to wear White Sox and Cubs hats instead of Red Sox hats today for the special occasion (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

Trent made trips to Chicago in the past, but always through Midway. He looks forward to the added convenience that O’Hare provides since the History Bee is taking place in a hotel near O’Hare. Without Thursday’s flight, his choices were limited to going through Midway, finding a connecting flight with another airline in Manchester or heading to another airport that provides direct service to O’Hare.

“It’s more convenient than having to drive over from O’Hare,” said Trent.  “Last time I went to Chicago, I flew out to Midway through Southwest and my sister had to drive out and pick me up. O’Hare’s just much closer.”

Tickets for the inaugural flight became available for sale on December 17. After today, two fights a day will be offered on the route, with 65 seats available on each flight.

Video of the water cannon salute of the flight can be seen here.