Washington DC- Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged United Airlines to establish a direct Erie to Newark flight that could better connect Northwestern Pennsylvania’s travelers and businesses to key destinations throughout the U.S. Erie’s airport has made major upgrades recently including a runway expansion to better accommodate today’s travel needs. In his letter to United CEO Jeff Smisek, Casey pushed for the airline to move forward with plans for a direct flight. Already the region’s travelers are consistently filling flights to other major transportation hubs like Chicago.
“A direct flight between Erie and Newark would be a major step forward for air travel in the region,” Senator Casey said. “Erie continues to make substantial improvements to its airport that are paying dividends to the region’s economy. Establishing this new direct flight could take air travel in Northwestern Pennsylvania to the next level and have a substantial impact on jobs and economic growth.”
The full text of Casey’s letter to United Airlines can be seen below:
Dear Mr. Smisek,
It is my understanding that United Airlines is considering the establishment of an Erie-Newark connecting flight at the Erie International Airport. Nonstop Newark (EWR) service would not only provide the New York City (NYC) hub and its local area nonstop service, but excellent connectivity to the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and southern US markets. The purpose of this letter is to encourage you to offer this flight connection.
The success of existing United flight service at the Erie International Airport (ERI) between Erie and Chicago, Illinois underscores the potential for flight service between Erie and Newark. It is my understanding that this flight connection to Chicago is extremely popular and convenient for Erie travelers. According to the airport, flights to Chicago and other major metropolitan cities are consistently filled at over 90 percent capacity, which is indicative of the demand and need for major route options. Due to high load factors at ERI, there are limited available seats for purchase, but passenger demand continues to remain very high.
To date, ERI has been making the necessary investments to increase capacity and improve operations. Last year, ERI extended the main runway in an $82 million capital project to accommodate future growth and to accommodate not only regional jets but also mainline aircraft. The airport has been working diligently to meet the demands of its patrons to add more convenient destinations. The airport’s investment projects provide a healthy environment for airline carriers to add flights and more practical destinations.
I welcome continued dialogue about the establishment of the Erie-Newark service and urge you to offer this flight at the Erie International Airport. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, please feel free to contact me directly. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office directly or contact Jack Groarke on my staff at (202) 224-6324. Thank you for your consideration of my views.
Robert P. Casey Jr.
United States Senator