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United Airlines to Begin County Operations Sept. 9

May 21, 1987|JOHN O'DELL | Times Staff Writer

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.

Commercial jet flights at John Wayne are tightly controlled to reduce aircraft noise at the nation's fifth-busiest general aviation and commercial airport. In addition to a cap on the total number of flights allowed, county officials restrict the type of commercial jet aircraft that can use the airport. Those restrictions are imposed by limiting engine noise levels.

Jets which currently meet the noise standards are the McDonnell Douglas 9-80, the Boeing 737-300 and the BAe 146.

London said United's flights will use Boeing 737-300 twin-engine jets, which seat 128 passengers.

United's outbound schedule from John Wayne Airport will include a daily nonstop flight to O'Hare leaving at 1:10 p.m and arriving in Chicago at 7:10 p.m. A second flight will depart Orange County at 9:30 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 4:40 a.m. after a stop at Ontario.

From Chicago, United will fly a nonstop flight departing at 9:55 a.m. and arriving at John Wayne Airport at 12:19 p.m. The second flight, with a stop at Ontario International Airport, will depart from Chicago at 3:35 p.m. and arrive at John Wayne Airport at 5:56 p.m.

A spokesman for United in Chicago said the carrier views Orange County as a lucrative market but has no specific plans to increase its flights out of John Wayne. "We have to see how bookings go before we talk about expansion," he said.

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