Air travelers from two of South Carolina's coastal tourist meccas will find new seasonal routes next year to the heart of the Midwest on the world's largest carrier.
American Airlines will launch twice-daily service May 4 through Nov. 2 between Charleston International and O'Hare International in Chicago, the Texas-based carrier announced Tuesday.
That's where two huge Lowcountry employers are headquartered. Boeing Co. is based in Chicago while Kapstone Paper and Packaging's home is in nearby Northbrook, Ill.
On June 7, American will offer weekend-only service between Myrtle Beach and O'Hare. Flights end Aug. 20 between the Grand Strand and the Windy City.
“Chicago plays a pivotal role in our global network, and these new destinations will ensure that our customers can efficiently get to where they need to travel,” said Franco Tedeschi, vice president of American's Chicago hub.
American is building five new gates at O'Hare, the first new gates at the airport in more than 20 years. They open next spring.
American's wholly owned subsidiary Envoy Air will fly Embraer-175 aircraft on the new Palmetto State routes. They seat between 76 and 88 passengers.
American currently serves both South Carolina airports, but it does not offer service to Chicago.
From the Lowcountry, United Airlines offers three daily routes to O'Hare while Southwest Airlines offers twice-daily flights to Chicago Midway International, according to Charleston International's flight schedule.
Spirit and United airlines offer service between the Grand Strand and Chicago, according to Myrtle Beach airport's website.
Denver-based Frontier Airlines, a new competitor in the Charleston market, will launch Monday and Friday flights to O'Hare on May 11, one week after American's expansion.