United Airlines, which was awarded two flights at tightly controlled John Wayne Airport earlier this month, said Wednesday that it will begin daily round trips between Orange County and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Sept. 9.
United has been on the waiting list for flight allocations at John Wayne Airport since October, 1984.
The Chicago-based airline obtained the two flight allocations as a result of the May 1 acquisition of AirCal by American Airlines. The county's complex rules for allocating flights to air carriers required American to give up two slots after the merger, said George A. Rebella, airport manager.
Under the new allocations, United becomes the ninth commercial airline to operate from John Wayne Airport. Others are American, with 25 daily flights; Northwest, with six flights; PSA, 15 flights; Continental, five flights; Jet America, two flights; Delta, three flights; TWA, two flights, and America West, six flights.
"This is an increasingly important market in terms of both business and pleasure travel," said Gus London, vice president for United's Southwest region.