Airport officials have touted the new service as part of an increased effort by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - which took over operation of the airport in July - to bring in new carriers to the facility, which has long operated in the shadows of Philadelphia International and Newark Liberty International.
Through its ties with major carriers at Newark, LaGuardia, and John F. Kennedy International Airports, local officials have said they hoped the port authority could enhance the chances of bringing several major carriers to Atlantic City.
Local travelers were starved for flights to destinations other than Florida, after AirTran ceased operations at the airport in 2012. The midsize budget carrier Spirit had been the only commercial airline operating out of the airport, with fewer than 30 flights a day, mostly to Florida or other Southern locales.
But with a 10-gate terminal and multimillion-dollar expansions and renovations over the last decade, the ACY, as the airport is known, could easily handle 10 times the traffic it has now, according to the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which previously ran the facility.
For its arrival Tuesday from Chicago, United Airlines Flight 4161 was showered with a celebratory spray of water as it landed on ACY tarmac, bringing 19 passengers from the Windy City. The terminal was decorated with an iconic Atlantic City rolling chair, balloons, beach umbrellas, and other accoutrements for the occasion, officials said.
In hopes of drumming up business for the casino's sagging fortunes, a coalition of tourism agencies from Atlantic City has launched a $1 million marketing campaign to promote United's new flight service in and out of ACY. The seaside gambling resort is "hungry" for the new business, said Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian.
United said the ExpressJet flights in and out of Atlantic City would be operated with a 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft.